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A review of The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker

Author Jennifer Schell is deeply invested in supporting B.C.'s farming and wine industries

Woman in red, holding a book, stands with two men and a woman in chefs' wear, with a notice about a book signing.
Author Jennifer Schell (far left), enlisted input from Okanagan chefs (L to R) Rod Butters, Jas Dosanj and Willi Franz, among others, for her book "The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker." — Photo courtesy Jennifer Schell

On first glance at the cover photo for The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker, I guessed that this 197-page cookbook is as much about the people and their beloved environment as it is about food and wine. Yes, the recipes sound delectable, but it was the stories that kept me reading.

Almost all of the recipes come from accomplished chefs who have chosen to live in the Okanagan Valley in the interior of British Columbia. This area has attracted an astonishing host of culinary talent from across Canada and around the world. Nine recipes, tucked into the back of the book, are family favourites from private kitchens where I’d love to be a guest.

Take a heaping cup of passion

The recipes themselves are illustrated and, as you’d expect from a bunch of chefs, range from simple to complex. Each is followed by a two-page spread featuring the chef who developed the recipe, the farmer who provided the ingredients, and a local winemaker or brewmaster whose wares complement the food.

Each story is rich with the subject’s dedication to and appreciation for the Okanagan region and their own livelihood and lifestyle. Each chef has a relationship with the farmer who grows the produce or provides the protein, and with the winemaker who produces a wine that pairs well with the food being served.

Author and food and wine writer Jennifer Schell has made the most of her own expertise, compiling a book that celebrates Okanagan food and drink and that is wholeheartedly about nourishment.

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