Matthew Batey, Executive Winery Chef, Mission Hill Winery

Matthew Batey, Mission Hill Winery.
Matthew Batey, Mission Hill Winery.

“Cooking at Mission Hill is about being a champion of this place — the Okanagan Valley and the opportunity to be the head chef at one of the top places in the country.

“In most restaurants, you start with the food and find the wine to suit. Here it’s a 180 degree shift, we start with the wines. Our alfresco and private catering is all based around the wine program.

“We have two kitchens. One is the Terrace (led by Chris Stewart) for seasonal alfresco dining lunch and dinner, from Mother’s Day to Thanksgiving.

“I was the Terrace chef for 18 months,” says Matthew. “I was really lucky to work with Michael Allemier.

“The year-round kitchen is for winery dinners, special events, corporate dinners and every dinner is custom. I’m phoning farmers to find what’s available. About 95 per cent of our produce is from the valley, and last year we cooked for over 23,000. We work with Green Croft Gardens; Pilgrims’ Produce in Armstrong and Suncatcher Farm, Tony is a very big deal. Also the spin garden guy, Curtis Stone, at Green City Acres, Brian at Willowdale farm in Oliver for asparagus. The cherries for the Oculus cherries come from the Cross Orchards function junction.

“I am so impressed with the diversity of the region — full-bodied red such as Oculus to ice wines, so incredibly diverse, and the array of fruits and veg, from stone fruits, darlings of the summer, to beautiful root vegetables.

Organic beet salad with Lady Jane cheese, mint, blackberry and beet sorbet

  • 16 small spring beets or equivalent
  • water for boiling
  • ½ c (or so) balsamic vinegar
  • star anise
  • cinnamon stick
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 pc Farm House Lady Jane Cheese
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 1 c blackberries
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

Place beets, vinegar, star anise, cinnamon stick and thyme in water. Gently boil. Once cooked, remove from the liquid, and peel the beets while hot. Cut as desired, season with oil and salt as needed. Let stand.

Beet sorbet

Chef’s note: in percentages as the desired volume of finished product dictates how much of the ingredients are required.

  • 50 % beet puree — beets cooked as above, peeled and then puréed
  • 20 % sugar
  • 20 % water
  • 10 % sherry vinegar

Bring the water and sugar to a boil to dissolve the sugar, remove from the stove. Add the beet puree and vinegar. Taste, season as needed. Chill the base, then spin in an ice cream machine.

To serve: tear the mint leaves, and add with blackberries to the beets. Portion the cheese as desired and serve with the salad. Add the sorbet to the top.

Serves 4.

Chef’s wine suggestion: Mission Hill Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir.