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ABOUT US

Board Members 

Our Team

Feeding people and our community all while feeding our passion

TBA

President

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TBA

Membership 

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Chris Braun

Vice President

Born and raised in the Okanagan Valley, his passion for food started very young. Growing up in his grandmother's kitchen, helping out on his parent's fruit orchard, and now helping raise livestock, his culinary passion spills past the kitchen walls.

He started his career with Coast Hotels, apprenticing under Chef Monika Lauterbaucher. Working his way through the Valley and growing his network of local producers he quickly realized the importance of our region and the plethora of offerings the Okanagan has.

After returning from Italy and Spain where he studied classic Charcuterie, he found an interest in competing with his cooking. A couple of local industry competitions quickly found him competing as a finalist Nationally. He is currently a member of Culinary Community Catering Team Canada, the team’s goal is to achieve Gold in an upcoming competition in Luxembourg.

Currently the Chef of Erica Jane Restaurant in the downtown Kelowna. Chris hopes to bring a renewed interest in friendly culinary competition here in the Valley. 

 Brent Durec 

Chairperson

Hello all,

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.

Our Team

Feeding people and our community all while feeding our passion

TBA

Member at Large

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Katie Foster

Secretary

To Come

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Brycen Knorr

Young Chef Director 

Born and raised in the Okanagan, Brycen began his culinary journey completing the Culinary Arts training at Okanagan College. Over the years Brycen has worked primarily in the city of Kelowna, at such places as Waterfront Cafe, SmackDab, Manhattan Point and Sunny's, A Modern Dinner. Though he is currently taking a break from kitchens, he is still within the industry working for Gordon Food Services in a sales position. Brycen recently won the Young Chef of the year award for 2023 and was also nominated to take over as the Young Chef Director. Always trying to lend a hand, Brycen is excited to get to be in a position to help new up and coming young chefs and contribute to passing the torch as many chefs before him have done for him.

Jessica Madinabeita

Treasuerer

Hello everyone, my name is Jessica Madinabeitia, Treasurer of the Okanagan Chefs Association and Young Chef graduated in Culinary Arts in Okanagan College, currently registered as an Apprentice PC Level 3 with Skilled Trades BC under the wing of Chef Evan Anderson, Executive Chef at Hillside Winery and Bistro in Penticton. I also hold a Post-Diploma Certificate in Tourism and Hospitality Management with Okanagan College, and in my native Mexico a Diploma in Mexican Cuisine at the prestigious Escuela de Gastronomia Mexicana (Esgamex) in Mexico City, as well as an Undergraduate Degree in Business Administration with the University of Guadalajara.

My work experience as a Professional Cook includes Theo’s Restaurant, Naramata Inn, Lake Breeze, Hillside Winery & Bistro, Gunbarrel Saloon and recently, a feature night as guest Chef at Shaughnessy’s Cove Supper Club.

I have been a member with the Okanagan Chef Association since the end of 2020, and I was awarded Junior Chef of the Year 2021 by this same Association.

Personally, I pride myself on helping others to achieve their goals, reason why, living in beautiful Penticton and being introduced to the Canadian life, culture, and workplace since 2013, when I moved here with my husband and daughter, I decided to volunteer my time and efforts whenever possible, to the community, individuals and organizations, with passion, professional manners, dedication to the job, work ethic and team approach, and with the OCA there is no exception. 

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