Gray Monk is an important winery in the food story of Canada. It was founded by the Heiss family who moved to the Okanagan Valley from Europe via Edmonton with dreams of owning a successful vineyard. In 1972, George & Trudy Heiss were at the front of the line presenting their request to be allowed to make (and sell) wine from their own grapes. That began the Estate Winery program – which many believe was the turning point for British Columbia Wines. The name comes from one of the first grape varieties they produced – Pinot Gris. In Austria and Hungary, this grape is called ‘Grauar Mönch’ hence the translation to ‘Gray Monk’.
Facing west, the restaurant overlooks 75 acres of vineyards. The afternoon sun bathes them in gold. Sunsets are gorgeous. Executive Chef Maurice Desharnais leads the culinary team.
Growing up in Northern Ontario, Chef Desharnais’ first job as a backcountry Ranger for one of Canada’s largest national parks was world-apart from the refined French-inspired cuisine he now creates. During his month-long stays in the interior of the park, he became innovative using whatever he could forage or catch. After developing this love for the bounty of what Canada has to offer and a bear attack while on assignment he went on to switch careers moving from forestry into studying culinary arts at Algonquin College in Ottawa. He’s traveled the world from Dubai to Berlin to Niagara on the Lake at Peller Estates but we met when he came to cook with the Food Day Canada contingent in New York City at the Beard House.
The opportunity to have his own winery kitchen at a Peller-owned property came this year and he jumped at it. Maurice is a sommelier, a cheese expert and has competed on Chopped Canada.
As in all top winery restaurants, their dishes are made specifically to pair perfectly with the Gray Monk’s fabulous wines which are handcrafted by Winemakers George Heiss Junior and Roger Wong. They offer classic cocktails, Frozé and a reserve wine list from the Peller family of wineries in British Columbia such as Black Hills, Tinhorn Creek, Sandhill and Red Rooster.
Contact The Lookout Restaurant at the number below to reserve a Food Day Canada table.
Contactez The Lookout Restaurant directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre Journée des terroirs réservation.
The Lookout Restaurant
1055 Camp Road
Okanagan Centre BC V4V 2H4
T: 250 766 3168