Executive Chef Mark Filatow of Kelowna’s Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar is one of the Okanagan’s top chefs, combining vast culinary talent and formidable wine knowledge. Quiet and unassuming, Mark is extremely focused in the kitchen, loved by his loyal staff and respected and liked amongst his peers.
Mark was born into a family with a great appreciation for food. His European heritage provided a culinary melting pot of homemade Russian, Jewish, Ukrainian, German and Danish dishes. Growing up in Mississauga, Ontario, Mark was also influenced by his predominantly Italian neighborhood where the smell of grilled peppers was a signal that summer had arrived. After high school, he headed to the West Coast, skiing and working the lower ranks of the kitchens in Whistler. The University of British Columbia proved successful in the introduction to his wife but he switched to Dubrulle Culinary Institute after the realization that he preferred working in the campus kitchen. It was a smart move – he graduated from Dubrulle with honours.
After a season as head-chef/dishwasher with a tree-planting crew to cover his student debt, Mark began his culinary apprentice in 1996 working with Chef Rod Butters at Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn. After two years, he headed back to Vancouver and worked for Chef John Bishop at Bishops Restaurant, followed by Diva at the Met Restaurant under Canadian Iron Chef, Michael Noble. In 2001, he again joined Chef Rod Butters along with Audrey Surrao, as part of the opening team of Kelowna’s revolutionary fine-dining restaurant, Fresco (now the contemporary RauDZ)
The dream of running his own restaurant came to fruition in November 2004 when he opened Kelowna’s Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar, an instant success. Numerous awards followed including the prestigious ranking of one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants by EnRoute Magazine and five consecutive years of Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence”. In the restaurant world, where customers are often fickle and today’s hotspot can be tomorrow’s old news, Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar has stood the test of time.
Mark takes pride in raising his family in the Okanagan and enjoys skiing with his family. Along with raising two young children, Mark mentors many young and upcoming chefs as well as running Details Catering. You can taste Mark’s wonderful line of dips such as Smokey Eggplant Caponta in Kelowna at Okanagan Grocery Artisan Breads under the Details Catering label.
Mark takes great pride in sourcing locally and working with small independent farmers. When he couldn’t find local Russet potatoes, he managed to convince John Cox of Sweet Life Farm to grow them and today they are one of the farm’s best selling spuds. Mark grows almost all of the restaurant’s herbs and tomatoes on his small farm,“Eldorado”. The farm also includes his much-loved Italian plum tree (yielding nearly two hundred pounds of fruit) and prized family heirloom Swedish brown beans.
Menus change to reflect the best of the season and as one of only a handful of Canadian chefs that is a certified sommelier, the suggested food and wine pairings at Waterfront Restaurant are exceptional. For an insider’s guide to some of the Okanagan’s best wines simply follow Waterfront Restaurant’s changing wine list.
In March, after being closed for three months, Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar celebrates reopening following an expansion and renovation. Reservations may now be just a little easier to come by. Open Monday Through Saturday from 5pm. Closed Sundays. #104-1180 Sunset Drive, Kelowna.
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