A new scholarship has been created in the name of Harry McWatters, and those behind it are hoping others will help contribute to the fund.
McWatters was an icon on the Okanagan wine scene, and his passing last year left a void that will never be filled. In an effort to continue his legacy, Chefs’ Table Society has teamed up with the Okanagan College Foundation for a scholarship that will be given to wine or tourism students who are participating in an international education experience.
“Harry’s mentorship is rightly legendary,” Okanagan College School of Business associate dean Jonathan Rouse said in a press release. “He always had his eye on emerging talent in the business, and vigorously mentored young people through his roles as founder of the BC Wine Institute and his many ongoing industry affiliations.”
Chefs’ Table will donate $2,000 per year for a minimum of five years, and it wants others in the industry to show their support as well.
“The operative word is fund,” Chefs’ Table president Robert Belcham said. “We’ve donated first, but it’s really a call to action: We invite industry associations, wineries and private individuals to enhance our gift by donating online or contacting the Okanagan College Foundation and pledging their support.
“… Our member chefs serve hundreds of bottles of B.C. wines every day, and I like to think there’s a little bit of Harry in every one of them. In retrospect, it’s astounding what Harry and his fellow pioneers accomplished in just over three decades. B.C. wines are securely on the global map.”
The McWatters family, which includes wife Lisa Lalonde and children Christa-Lee and Darrien, has already contributed $1,000 to the fund.
“Out of tragedy can arise positive outcomes,” the family said in the press release. “We are very grateful, and honoured, that the Chefs’ Table Society and Okanagan College have joined in this positive partnership to honour Harry and salute his legacy. It’s a perfect fit and much in keeping with Harry’s profound interest in global wine connectivity.”
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