B.C. chef savours opportunity to cook for Dalai Lama
Kelowna, B.C., chef Ned Bell is a high-profile, competition-ready man of food.
And this week, he's preparing to serve his most important guests ever -- an eclectic mix of dignitaries and philanthropists attending the Vancouver Peace Summit.
The guest list includes the Dalai Lama, leader of Tibetan Buddhists, and Bob Geldof, the musician -activist.
"Am I nervous? Absolutely. Am I excited? Absolutely," the Okanagan-born chef said this week.
The food will have to be of the highest standard -- yet simple enough to appeal to a Buddhist monk.
Bell is taking a pass on serving meat for this gig. He's not even sure if the Dalai Lama eats meat.
Instead, he'll be sticking with a fusion of Okanagan and Vancouver vegetables with some Island cheese.
Fresh local food, simply presented.
"My belief system of sustainability in how I prepare my food is similar to what they're trying to do with changing the world one step at a time," Bell said.
Bell is used to being in the spotlight. He was a regular on Food Network Canada's "Cook Like a Chef" and was voted one of Western Living's "Top 40 Foodies Under 40."
On Sunday night, he will be one of several chefs serving an elite group at a fundraising dinner for the Dalai Lama's Centre for Peace and Education.
"If we can focus on locally produced food that is grown, harvested, nurtured, raised, I think they're going to appreciate that," Bell said.
"I'm just excited quite honestly, I can hardly stand it."
Workers at Kelowna's Cabana Bar and Grille, which Bell owns and serves as executive chef, are excited for him, too.
"I think it's amazing. It's a great experience that doesn't come along very often," said Gina Davidson.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Kent Molgat.