Coming home to Kelowna and Big White is like going on vacation for me. Its so nice to be able to be back, eat home cooked meals, sleep in my own bed, and see all of my friends and family.

I spent a few days at home working with Joel at Pinnacle Physiotherapy before heading up the mountain for some light skiing, hot tubing, and wining and dining at the White Spirit Lodge on Big White.

“Gold Medal Plates is the ultimate celebration of Canadian Excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement. Celebrated in eight cities across Canada in 2010 and nine cities in 2011, Gold Medal Plates features superb wines and the premier chefs in each city, paired with Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes, in a competition to crown a gold, silver and bronze medal culinary team in each city, and subsequently nation-wide. Founded in 2003, the goal of Gold Medal Plates is to raise substantial funds for Canada’s high performance athletes, while celebrating Canadian excellence. Since 2004, this event has received tremendous support and accolades all across Canada, and generated a combined net total of close to $5 million for Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes! For more information, visit the Gold Medal Plates website”

Saturday the 19th of February held the date for the 2011 Canadian Culinary Championship finals at the Delta Grand Okanagan Hotel in Kelowna. I got to hang out with Maelle Ricker (Olympic gold medalist-snowboard cross), Adam Kreek (Olympic gold medalist-8 men rowing), Josh Dueck (Paralympic silver medalist-alpine skiing), and others.

The event was amazing, with food prepared by the greatest chef’s in Canada, wine paired to match each dish, with live music headlined by Colin James, Barney & Dustin Bentall, and Kendal Carson. A live auction conducted by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers ended the night off right. Items up for bid included a “four-day rare wine tour of the Napa Valley hosted by Olympic medallist Catriona Le May Doan; a trip to Tuscany for gourmet cooking classes and cycling, hosted by Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo and Olympians Marnie McBean, Curt Harnett, Chandra Crawford and Devon Kershaw; an extraordinary hike and pub crawl in England with Olympian Jon Montgomery and a sailing trip in the Adriatic with host Ron MacLean from Hockey Night in Canada and Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea.”

I had so much fun with my parents and community that evening. Kelowna will be hosting the finals for this event over the next five years! Congratulations to Martin Juneau of Montreal for winning the prestigious title of Canadian Culinary Champion.

We are headed to Switzerland this Saturday for the last stretch of races. Our next event will be in Grindelwald on March 3rd. There are four World Cup races left in the season before the Canadian Nationals, which are going to be in Lake Louise in early April.