Okanagan Chefs Association
my name is Brent Durec and I am the current President of the Okanagan Chefs Association.
I was born and raised in just outside of Vancouver but moved to the Okanagan 21 years ago with my wife and one year old son. Since then our family has grown by two, another son and a daughter, and of course my two dogs.
I was lucky enough to arrive in this valley at an amazing time. Our industry was at the beginning of some big change. Here, as a young cook, I got the chance to meet and cook with some pretty special and inspiring people. Working as a cook, I had opportunities at golf clubs, hotels, and local restaurants. I finally ended up running the culinary team for a hotel in Vernon. After moving on from there, I changed things up a bit and joined Sysco Kelowna as a protein specialist, buyer, and eventually one of the corporate chefs. Here is where I have been for the last 16 years, working with our customers from Kelowna to Prince George. I have met so many amazing friends and people I consider family in this industry. I have had lots of opportunities to meet local small businesses and work with many of the Okanagan's unique products.
I was asked to be part of the board a couple of years ago as a member at large and am now the current president of our association. I am excited about the future of our CF Okanagan. We are very grateful for all that have joined our past and current boards. One thing I have always loved about the CF Okanagan is that we are a family willing to share ideas, help our community, donate time for fundraising, and to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
We are an association of cooks, and professionals related to the hospitality industry. All are welcome. If anyone is interested in who or what we are, please reach out.
Please meet Jason Hoffman, Membership Director for the OCA:
I grew up in Kamloops. Moved to the coast and attended Douglas College to study Coaching. I am a certified NCCP Level 3 Football coach. While in school I started working at Cactus Club Café as a part-time job in the Dish Area. I ended up moving up and eventually into a leadership position. Spent the next several years moving around opening new locations, Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby, Calgary, and then ended up in Edmonton. I met my wife Jen in Edmonton. Around that time I transitioned to Russell Food Equipment in Edmonton. My father got sick and we moved to the Okanagan. We got married in Oyama and then moved to Calgary to be closer to family. In Calgary, we joined the Calgary Association of Chefs and Cooks. I held the position of Membership and then Vice-President and Jen held the position of Jr Membership and Education. In January, an opportunity was offered to move back to Kelowna, and decided to settle down in the most beautiful place on earth.
On my downtime, I am a sports fan, following the Steelers and Oilers. My parents grew up in Armstrong, and Hoffman Road is where Grandpa had the old farmhouse.
Member at Large
I was born in Winnipeg and began prepping at the local Kosher catering company at 14 for a work-experience program. From there I went on to work in a few small family-owned restaurants and hotels, before attending the Stratford Chefs School, and obtaining my Red Seal in 2005. I then pursued my culinary career throughout North America and Europe before getting hooked on the Okanagan lifestyle. Like many others, I came to the Okanagan for a brief vacation, and have now been here for 13 years.
I became a member of the Okanagan Chefs Association in 2008, and I have, attended numerous National Conferences over the years. I was also recognized as the 2019 OCA Member of the Year.
In 2014 I opened my first restaurant - The Table Cafe, followed by the Broken Anchor Food Truck in 2018, I am currently in the midst of re-branding my businesses and preparing to open a new concept in the near future. I was also awarded a Top 40 Under 40 in early 2020.
I have worked in all areas of the kitchen from Pastry Chef, Sous Chef, and Executive Chef of a large hotel. I have always thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to teach apprentices, and since February of 2020, teaching culinary arts students at Okanagan College.
On the board, I am the Sponsorship Chair. I am excited about this role, as it will allow me to connect with many local businesses in the Okanagan, and help to grow the association.
I am a transplant to Kelowna from Calgary, where I spent most of my career as a chef. After graduating from SAIT’s professional cooking program I spent 17 years working in the foodservice industry. I developed my skill and expertise working in private clubs, catering, personal chef services, commercial cheese making, and organic farming. On top of being a Red Seal Chef, I am also a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant. My deep passion for food and nutrition led me to operate a yoga retreat business, where I was able to share and educate people on how food works in the body. It was in this business that I discovered my love of education and have since then taught at Olds College, SAIT, and currently at Okanagan College as a culinary arts instructor, where I get to educate the next generation of chefs!
I hold a seat on the OCA board as secretary and my role includes keeping accurate minutes of all proceedings of the Okanagan Chefs Association in a fair and impartial manner, looking after community and industry relations, providing notice of meetings to membership, and booking all of the year’s meetings. During my time on the board, my goals are to support my fellow members in strengthening our community and industry within the Okanagan. I also look forward to building and nurturing new relationships with newcomers to the association.
I am Jeremy Luypen, Chairman of the Okanagan Chefs Association and Past President for the last 4 years. I am also the Western Vice President of the Canadian Culinary Federation. I work at Summerhill Winery as the Director of Culinary and Hospitality. I moved to Kelowna in 1995 for post-secondary studies and found my way to the Culinary Program. I have spent time working up down done the Okanagan Valley. I also spent 12 years as an Instructor at Okanagan College.
Highlights included being the chef/owner of Terrafina at Hester Creek and opening up that place was amazing, with stops and the Hotel Eldorado, and a few golf courses along the way, I found my way to Summerhill Winery. The Team we have here is one of my favourites of all time, with a garden at your doorstep and wine in your glass it makes for some fun days.
In my downtime I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids, having an 18-year-old and a 3-year-old gives life some different perspective. I love being part of the OCA I believe if you are going to live in a community you might as well be involved in it and try and make it a better place. Volunteering and being amongst friends and giving back through feeding people and help raise money all while doing something you love is a pretty cool experience.
Board Member at Large
My name is Skylar Sawers. I just recently relocated here from Alberta. Currently residing at Summerhill Pyramid winery as the Banquets sous chef.
I have been in the industry for about a decade. Majority of which I spent in Lethbridge Alberta. I did my technical training at the Lethbridge College, where I obtained my red seal and journeyman about 5 years ago. More recently I spent the last 3 years operating as the president of the Lethbridge branch of the CF. I have learned a great deal in my time spent in the culinary federation. It has also given me opportunities, I likely wouldn't have received otherwise.
I currently sit as a director at large on the OCA board, to help with new projects where needed. I'm really excited to see what an association of this magnitude can accomplish. The OCA has always seemed to be very centralized around the community and broadcasting the amazing things we have at our disposal in this valley. And I'm very excited to be apart of that.
My name is Lisa Basham, and I am your friendly neighborhood Social Media Chair for the OCA. I am a commercial kitchen designer and equipment specification consultant for Canadian Restaurant Supply Ltd. CRS is a Kelowna-based commercial kitchen equipment supplier.
My family is originally from Westbank but I was born and raised in the Ottawa area. I studied interior design in Ontario before moving to Vancouver to start my professional career.
There I changed direction and completed both the culinary and pastry programs at Dubrulle. I worked in Vancouver for several years before buying a resort in the South Pacific and moving out of the country. The resort was sold to move back to Canada and give birth to my son. We moved to Kelowna looking for a great place to raise a family.
I move to CRS in 2008 looking for a better family/work balance and found the ideal home for both my interior design and culinary experience.
As the Social Media Chair for the OCA, I am hoping to develop our social media platforms to become effective resources for our members during these challenging times. To that end, I am asking you to follow both our Facebook and Instagram accounts and encourage others in the community to do the same. Please feel free to reach out to me with content suggestions and comments.
I truly believe that the Okanagan Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is a privilege to live here and I cannot think of anywhere more suited to raising a family and developing professionally. I am honored to serve the most community-oriented and active chapter in the Federation.
Lisa Bashamand more by highlighting part of me and selecting the options from the toolbar.
Young Chef Membership Chair
My name is Rachel Broe I am the junior director for the Okanagan Chefs Association.
I was born and raised in Penticton BC, where I started my first job at 14 years old in a Greek restaurant. I was there 6 years before I decided to pursue my dream in culinary.
I moved to Kelowna BC for the culinary arts certificate at Okanagan College in 2015. I completed the program and received my level 1 and 2 professional cook certificate, shortly after I achieved my red seal.
Most of my professional career has been working at Summerhill Pyramid Winery as a sous chef. Since then I have moved back to my home town where I will continue my career as a sous chef at Hillside Winery.
Being back in Penticton will help my position as the junior director to meet more people in the community who would like the opportunity to be a part of the OCA. I would like to focus on recruiting a younger dynamic for fresh and current ideas for more involving meetings.
This association is great for new chefs or anyone in the industry who would like a chance to meet like-minded people in the community and network. Being a member of the Okanagan Chefs Association is more than a group of chefs and foodies coming together once a month. We are a misfit family with passion, who love and care for our industry.
Board Member at arge
My name is Andy Stefansson and I represent Pacific Restaurant Supply for the Interior of British Columbia. We specialize in Foodservice Design, Custom Stainless Steel Fabrication, and Commercial Foodservice Equipment Solutions. We help Restaurants, Hotels, Golf Courses, Ski Hills, Wineries, Breweries, Distilleries, Senior’s Living, Health Care, Schools, and any other establishment with a commercial kitchen or bar with their equipment needs.
I shifted from the foodservice industry working as a cook, waiter, and dishwasher, to the foodservice supply industry selling equipment and small wares over 30 years ago. I have been living in The Okanagan since 1990. For the past 6 years, I have been representing Pacific Restaurant Supply. I have been a Member of the Okanagan Chef’s Association since 1992.
I have many years of experience and have put together a strong team of tradespeople who I work with to deliver Commercial Foodservice Projects from a single piece of equipment to a custom stainless solution to a complete kitchen and bar.
On the OCA Board, I am a Member at Large. While this position is less clearly defined than others, it is one that allows flexibility to help on sub-committees, with events, and with promotion. I hope to jump in where I can have a positive effect on things like fundraising, and recruitment. A hobby of mine is photography and I have been able to pitch in and take pictures over the years at OCA events and share them for social media requirements.
In my position, I have been lucky to meet many new Chefs when they come to the Okanagan Valley. Something I share with them is that our Chef’s Association is a great source of help and guidance for new people. They are often surprised to hear that other local Chefs would be helpful and welcoming to new competition - I am very proud that OCA offers great camaraderie. I believe that we are all working together to offer a World-Class Culinary Experience pairing local bounty with local wines, beers, spirits, and creative talent!
Chefs in the Classroom Chair