Barrie Elliott is a local chef who has garnered a bit of a reputation. Last April, she won $10,000 on Chopped Canada, a reality show where chefs compete against each other to impress a panel of culinary experts. Elliott won the prize money and showcased the food and restaurant culture in Fernie, and now she’s onto a different project, highlighting local foods in the Fernie area.
On Sept. 19, Elliott will be catering the Harvest Feast and Fest, creating a meal focusing on local ingredients.
“The dinner will be 90 per cent local ingredients. There will be a couple of things that I can’t source out here, but mostly local ingredients from Creston to Alberta,” said Elliott, citing that Boulter Family Farms and Cutter Ranch were two of the primary farms that she is sourcing the proteins from.
Elliott was excited to work with the Harvest Feast and Fest because buying locally sourced foods is something that she strongly believes in. In the spring, she started researching and connecting with local farms as part of the Fernie Culinary Guild, a project she started.
“I started the Fernie Culinary Guild with all of the chefs around town to concentrate our chef power, our buying power, and our sourcing power so we could get different things that we can’t get on a small scale because it would be too much for transportation and buying in a small quantity to have those special ingredients in Fernie,” Elliott said. “I started doing that by myself in the spring and then they asked me to do the fall fair which is kind of right up my alley, so I’ve gone to some more farms and gotten to know a little bit about the farmers and when are the seasons that they grow in, if they have green houses or if they don’t have greenhouses, and when do they slaughter their animals.”
Elliott said that her motivation was to know more about her food and the food that she was buying to be more apart of the process and less ignorant when placing large orders.
“I wanted to be more apart of that instead of someone who just orders large quantities of meat and has no idea where they are coming from.”
Buying locally and urban gardening is something that Elliott thinks is becoming more important to the community because of global factors that can effect the food supply.
“I think that homesteading is something that people are going for – living off of the grid a little bit and making your own food. Most of it comes from food security in the valley. Working at a restaurant, we order most of our stuff from California, and you can really see the prices go up in the last few years, because of droughts and water shortages. I think urban gardening is a way of people growing their own food, getting back to nature and making sure that they can survive and eat what is locally coming to them,” Elliott said.
For the feast itself, Elliott will be cooking for 100 to 120 people, with assistance from other local chefs like Logan Gaede. Elliott has a strong idea of what’s on the menu, but is open to last minute changes, depending on the produce available at the time. The dinner is a mix between a sit down meal and a stand up affair with a variety of stations showcasing different foods. The feast is hosted at the community eco-gardens and is set to start at 5:30. Tickets are available at www.wildsight.ca/fest.