On top of the world.
That’s where Willy Lemm and his three guests were last Sunday for their five-course, outdoor dining experience with all encompassing views of mountains, lakes and the Okanagan Valley.
Lemm, who is an avid supporter of the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre through his affiliation with the Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Association, was the winner of this year’s Theo’s at 10,000 Feet raffle run by the centre.
The four diners, including Lemm’s girlfriend Sue Lawson-Plover and friends Larry Rae and Deb Smith were whisked to the hilltop by way of Ellis Canyon by Eclipse Helicopter pilot Derek Robinson.
Upon their arrival, the guests dressed in the required formal attire (Lemm sporting a top hat no less) were greeted by OSNS executive director Manisha Willms, outgoing board chairman Tyler Chick, speech pathologist Shadi Asadi and Theo’s chef David Stern.
From there they were escorted to their dinning room in the clouds, and the large wooden table and chairs on carpet overlooking the world below and the snow-capped mountains above.
“It’s awesome, it’s incredible,” Lemm said between mouthfuls of Stern’s Dako, barely rusks with grated tomato, feta cheese, olive oil garlic and fresh oregano.
“The company is great and our hostesses were amazing.”
The day was extra special for Lemm and Lawson-Plover who had met six months ago.
“I don’t know how I’ll top this now,” he said about the anniversary extravaganza. “They’re going to be pretty expensive from here on in.”
The afternoon’s ambiance was enhanced with the classical guitar offerings of Penticton musician Evan Robillard who was strumming against the backdrop of Skaha Lake.
Wine pairings for all courses came from the Naramata Bench Wineries Association.
The meal offerings from Stern were prepared almost exclusively with quality, local ingredients and included Yigantes, watermelon salad, grilled lamb chops and Baklava with a fresh berry compote.
“It really takes a lot to co-ordinate this event, the team gets together early in the day to get things ready,” said Willms.
“Theo’s and Eclipse want this to be a stellar event, sending stemware up there, fine dining china, rugs and tables to make it the perfect experience on the mountain then the guests arrive and hopefully we make it look easy.”
She added the event’s success over the two decades rests squarely on the shoulders of its two main sponsors.
“It is just the history of generosity of these corporate entities really,” said Willms. “Theo’s Restaurant and Eclipse Helicopters realized 23 years ago this was a cause they wanted to support in their community.
“Those kids (at OSNS) that they were helping when they started the event are adults now and more successful and more able to be productive adults in our community because of that support when they were toddlers.
These longterm relationships have built the future.”