Roger Sleiman, Executive Chef Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate

Roger Sleiman, Old Vines, Quails' Gate.
Roger Sleiman, Old Vines, Quails’ Gate.

“A few years ago, most growers couldn’t supply in fall and winter. Now many are trying to fill in those off-season gaps.

“Curtis Stone of Green City Acres has been growing spinach all winter, his beets are ready at the end of April. Curtis is young and coming on bigtime — he’s partnered with another young farmer and they’ve doubled production — he’s got plots everywhere. ‘I’ve changed my number,’ he said the other day, ‘as everybody wants their backyard farmed.’

“Our biggest supplier is certified organic Suncatcher Farm; lots of tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, celery, fennel, fava beans. While some are growing lots of funky veg, I need the basics too. Onion, carrots, celery, fennel and Tony does that.

“In the summer, anything goes. I’ve never seen produce like it, bins and bins of fresh peas picked that morning — I have to line up people to shell them right away, to get them in the freezer to hold the sugars.

“It’s not just produce. I’m going to Cache Creek Beef this week to see their operation.

“I loved living in Whistler, but the Okanagan is a great place for a family and a cook.”

Fennel, celery and apple slaw


  • 1 head fennel, finely shaved on a mandoline
  • ¼ red onion, remove root and finely slice
  • 4 stalks celery, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored, thinly sliced then julienned)

Apple Cider Vinaigrette (makes extra dressing that can be used later)

  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ t mustard powder
  • 2 T honey
  • ½ c canola oil

Whisk together vinegar, mustard and honey until combined. Slowly add all canola oil in a light drizzle while whisking. Season with salt.

To serve, dress slaw and check seasoning.

Serves 2-4.

Chef’s wine suggestion: Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc.