Author: Romina Rooney • Date: October 24, 2016 • Appears in:
The Food Activist
To Patricia Guest, food is a way of life. For over 25 years she has owned a variety of businesses that have all been centred around food. She has been a farmer, a B&B owner/operator, and her latest venture is restaurant and bakery owner/chef at L’Oven Farm Fresh Food. A true pioneer in the local food, farm-to-table and agritourism movements I see the passion for food exude from her the moment we meet when I drop by her quaint and cozy restaurant in West Kelowna, BC.
We sit on the patio of the restaurant, the warm Okanagan sun still bright so that we need to sit in the shade. We start talking and I ask her “what is food to you”.
She answers “For me, food is a form of activism”. I ask her what she means by this and she explains to me that she is driven by her need to educate and inform people through food about issues such as GMO, food security, industrial farming, etc. She feels that through her love for local food and the power it has over community and the life, livelihoods and health of local people, by “telling the story of food”, she can do her part to fuel her drive as an activist.
She cares so deeply about the state of food today and our disconnect to it and our environment, that at times she has felt drained and throughout the years felt a huge weight on her shoulders. Being an environmental advocate is something she has been all her life but she found that she couldn’t be a full-time advocate for it all. So she decided to keep it focused and simple; to get people talking about what they are eating and how they are eating, to get the conversations going and getting people to enjoy their food, once again.
Her goal for opening up L’Oven is to have an open and transparent space where questions are welcomed on what Patricia and her staff are cooking and baking at the open concept kitchen. More and more she is seeing that “people are valuing food”. She wants to inspire people and show them that you can be playful with food. She loves seeing complete strangers come to her restaurant and towards the end bring in their tables and eat together. She even offers classes and workshops at the restaurant on preserving, cheesemaking, cooking with kids, etc.
For Patricia food is about coming together at the table and breaking bread. It is one of the most universal of experiences. The most favourite thing she hears coming from people’s mouths when they eat food she creates is “it tastes like real food”. This is what Patricia’s life-long goal is, to reconnect people with their food.