Renowned Vancouver chef moves to acclaimed BC wine country restaurant

By on May 28, 2013
Lee Humphries, who has worked as executive chef at famed C Restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia, has move to the Okanagan Valley to take over the culinary program at the acclaimed Local Lounge • Grille in Summerland. (Photo courtesy of The Local Group)

Lee Humphries, who has worked as executive chef at famed C Restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia, has move to the Okanagan Valley to take over the culinary program at the acclaimed Local Lounge • Grille in Summerland. (Photo by Lionel Trudel/The Local Group)

SUMMERLAND, British Columbia  – Local Lounge • Grille, past winner of Best British Columbia Wine List from Wine Press Northwest magazine, has named Lee Humphries as its new executive chef.

Humphries will be just the second chef in Local’s four-year history. He replaces Paul Cecconi, who resigned earlier this year to open Brodo, his restaurant and catering business in nearby Penticton.

Local is owned and operated by Cameron Bond, Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond and her father, Harry McWatters, who founded Sumac Ridge Estate Winery — the province’s first estate winery. Daughter and father also are partners in the McWatters Collection winery.

Humphries most recently served as executive chef at C Restaurant, one of Vancouver’s top spots for seafood. The star of the Kambolis Restaurant Group also is the founding restaurant of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Program, which is devoted to sourcing responsibly harvested and sustainable seafood.

Originally from southern England, Humphries has spent his career in the food trade. His journey began at youth on the family farm in Cornwall and led him to restaurants in London, including Michelin-rated Westbury Mayfair Hotel on Bond Street.

He arrived in British Columbia more than a decade ago, a path that included working as sous chef for David Hawksworth at West and executive chef positions at FigMint, Opus Hotel’s Elixir and the Heather Hospitality Group.

“I want food we serve to be authentic yet sophisticated, with an emphasis on the bounty sourced from nearby farmers. Food should simply taste like it’s supposed to. That’s why Local Lounge • Grille is such a perfect fit as they’re all about taste,” Humphries said in a news release. “As a chef, the Okanagan is Nirvana. It’s an extraordinary community of sustainably minded farmers, truly handcrafted microbrews, boutique wineries, all in a breathtakingly beautiful valley that has a laid-back approach to life.  It truly is farm to fork. Here Local is not just a name, but a way of living.”

McWatters-Bond said, “We’re thrilled to have Chef Humphries lead our culinary team. As an active member of the Chefs’ Table Society, his like-minded philosophy for feeding the body and soul fits with our belief that Local is about being in the moment, and experiencing the best with loved ones.”

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-spam measure * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.