Mark Filatow has continued his dominance over the Okanagan restaurant scene at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards this week (April 13).
For the eighth year in a row, Filatow’s Waterfront Wines took home the coveted title of best Okanagan restaurant.
“Hopefully we can make it 10 (years), and then we might have to pass it off,” Filatow, executive chef, sommelier and partner of Waterfront Wines, said of the win. “It’s not something where we ever want to rest on our laurels, but it’s nice and it’s super humbling.”
The magazine’s awards have been running for the past 28 years, providing an annual list of must-try restaurants throughout B.C.
Eighteen judges spend a year dining out to determine the best of the best.
Filatow credits his restaurant’s success to his staff and the local products the restaurant uses.
“As the saying goes, you’re only as good as your days off,” Filatow said. “If I’m not here and the restaurants still doing well and the guests are happy, that shows a lot of kudos to who’s really doing all the work because I can’t do it all.”
Filatow moved from Vancouver to Kelowna in the early 2000s because of the easy access to locally-sourced produce, meat and wine in the Okanagan.
“We really are in a bit of a bountiful basket, it’s pretty awesome,” he said.
Filatow grew up in Ontario, but moved west “as soon as (he) could.”
He dropped out of his program at UBC Vancouver, halfway through his degree, after realizing he was happiest in a kitchen.
He ended up enrolling in culinary school in Vancouver instead, and eventually found his way to Kelowna to open Fresco, which became Raudz in 2009.
“In 2004, Waterfront came along, and I wasn’t looking for anything, but there it was,” he said.
Raudz, Filatow’s old stomping ground, Raudz, took home second place for best Okanagan restaurant at the Restaurant Awards, followed by Salted Brick, a relative newbie in the area, having opened in early 2014.
The overall restaurant of the year went to Maenam, a Vancouver Thai restaurant.