With a grin as quick as his wit, Jeremy Luypen enthusiastically digs into his role as Executive Winery Chef at Summerhill Pyramid Winery. It’s a pivotal post joining the Cipes family and Winemaker Eric von Krosigk in the quest for uncompromising quality.

CEO Ezra Cipes commented on Chef Luypen’s vision for Summerhill’s extensive culinary program, saying, “I can’t even express how excited our whole team is to work with Chef Luypen. Our little wine region is changing and growing so fast, and with Chef Luypen’s help, you are going to see major, creative evolution going on at Summerhill.”

Located for more than 25 years in Kelowna’s Lakeshore district, Summerhill is Canada’s largest certified organic winery and BC’s first Demeter-certified biodynamic vineyard. It is Canada’s foremost producer of sparkling wine, and home to the acclaimed Sunset Organic Bistro, a 200-seat restaurant with a panoramic view of Okanagan Lake. The bistro serves food grown and raised by local organic producers, including Summerhill’s own permaculture-style vegetable garden.

That onsite capacity of high-quality organic produce is where you’ll literally find Chef Luypen digging with Gabe Cipes, biodynamicist/permaculturist. Chef Luypen loves being a gardener and delights in seeing bees return to the property. He takes the key benefit in this prestigious position seriously in that he can leverage his culinary leadership with increased say in what’s grown and used in Summerhill’s cuisine.

His expertise in farm-to-table Okanagan cuisine is a bonus for Summerhill, as is his ability to oversee a complex food operation. Most recently in charge of five kitchen outlets at Predator Ridge Resort, a 1,000-home golf development, just south of Vernon, Chef Luypen is no stranger to juggling expectations. He’s done it all — from lavish weddings and celebrity charity golf tournaments to drop-in dining guests and golfers grabbing a quick bite between nines.

Chef Luypen and his family are pleased he is cooking in Kelowna again —  something he hasn’t done since 2010. Without the long commute, he hopes to better balance his family and career commitments, plus continue as substitute instructor in Okanagan College’s culinary program. There and at work, Chef Luypen finds mentoring and teaching young cooks rewarding and strives to inspire the same love and encouragement that his culinary instructors imparted in him.

A basketball scholarship brought him to Kelowna from the Fraser Valley. With a year left to play ball and his pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts becoming less fulfilling, he switched into the culinary program. It was one of those moments that makes a parent smile as his mother reminded him he’d written in his Grade Seven yearbook that he wanted to be a chef. At a young age, he enjoyed cooking for family and friends and has now discovered a career suited to his passion.

Graduating top of his class, he then worked at the Chicago Chophouse in Calgary, The Eldorado Hotel in Kelowna and Passa Tempo at Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos, before partnering with April Goldade in Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek Estate Winery. He sold that to pursue new challenges at Predator Ridge.

Despite his Dutch heritage, Chef Luypen favours Italian cuisine.

“I’m not a big pasta or risotto eater, rather I love the Italian flavour profile. Take the freshness of lemon juice, capers, olives and oils to enhance local produce. Find the best tomato, peach or greens and elevate the natural goodness instead of masking it.”

Chef Luypen continues, “Pairing with fine wine and crafting harmony on your palate is exciting. I love sparkling wine so I’m especially keen to design an all-sparkling five-course dinner.”

Impressed by Summerhill’s commitment to give guests an outstanding experience, Chef Luypen looks forward to developing its food program.

“I love Stephen Cipes’ vision of providing an international flair with the addition of a container kitchen by the outdoor tasting lounge. With a rotating menu offering unique cuisines, it’ll keep visitors and regulars enthused.”

Using the container kitchen and creating a food hall, Chef Luypen sees the flexibility of addressing emerging trends such as vegan, gluten-free, plant-based dishes that add protein and ocean-wise choices. Okanagan Chefs Association president, consummate volunteer and keen Chefs-in-the-Classroom advocate, Chef Luypen subscribes whole-heartedly to Summerhill’s culinary revolution.

With a track record of embracing community causes along with his wife, he is eager to explore Summerhill’s initiative to provide schools with a healthy options lunch program.

Stay tuned at summerhill.bc.ca