Local “foodies” recognized for Slow Food advocacy

A love of food and where it comes from important to Sooke couple

What is a “foodie” exactly?

Well, if you were to ask Brooke Fader, she would tell you it is someone who has a passion for food. Not just the enjoyment of it, but also the producing, picking, harvesting and preserving of food from farms, oceans and the wild.

Brooke Fader and chef Oliver Kienast have been short-listed by Western Living magazine as Foodies of the Year.

The couple, well known for their work at the Sooke Harbour House, are setting off on their own. They previously operated Wild Mountain Dinners, a chef’s table dining experience.

Fader and Kienast are strong advocates and passionate members of the Slow Food Movement and this is where the nod from Western Living comes in.

“They recognized our work with Slow Food, and as a volunteer it’s the only validation you get. To get into Western Living is big for the group,” said Fader.

Fader is thrilled with them being short listed, not so much for themselves but for all of the amazing people on the short list, many of whom are friends.

One of the projects Fader  and the Slow Food Movement is involved in is finding money to help kids whose parents died from ebola. Fader said their parents had been farmers and the Slow Food Movement has been instrumental in growing 71 gardens in Sierra Leone, (1,000 in Africa).

“It’s about empowering people to encourage the changes they need and want.” The kids will be placed in relatives’ or family friends’ homes so they can stay in the community and go to school.

“Planting a garden is a political act,” she said. “We don’t realize how many countries if they don’t have local food they don’t have any food.”

That’s part of their passion and their commitment to the world. It is important on a global scale and on a local one. They believe the provincial government should make more effort to support local farmers and fishermen.

“Food for me is getting other people to care about the land, water and human beings in the world. If we taste it, we start to care. Why are the greens from Ragley Farm so delicious? Why are these strawberries so good? We want to get people reconnected to their food sources and to care,” said Fader.

Fader said food production in Sooke is increasing and a resurgence of small scale farming is becoming more evident each year.

Oliver Kienast is as involved as Fader in Slow Food but his forte is in the kitchen and his “words” are more often spoken with food.

“It is great to be recognized, us and our co-workers felt good about it. It’s recognition of us and our team. We all worked hard and really well together,” said Kienast.

He said the garden at the Sooke Harbour House is what makes that place.

“Amazing local food and customer service night after night is huge for us. We take it seriously – all of us.”

Kienast said, he is humbled and is pleased that food activists and chefs get the attention back  to farmers and fishermen who are taking bigger risks than they are.

“I couldn’t do what I do without other people who put their lives in that direction as well.”

Both acknowledged Sinclair Philip as a early advocate and supporter of the Slow Food Movement and bringing fresh into the equation.

“I see the baton being handed to us,” said Kienast.

So whether they become the Foodies of the Year or not is yet to be seen but what is clear is that they are doing what they love and they are passionate and involved in all aspects of food, from the planting, gathering, foraging and preparation to the larger world view.

Sooke has not heard the last of Brooke Fader and Oliver Kienast of Wild Mountain.