Got the Edge
A light-hearted Q&A with the people who make the Okanagan work


Chip Vatamaniuck
Contributed - Apr 02, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

Name: Chip Vatamaniuck

What business or organization are you involved with? The Bistro at The Castle at Swan Lake in Vernon.

What is your role with that organization? chef/managing partner

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Seeing our wildlife and enjoying the many lakes the Interior has for us.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Masaharu Morimoto, ever since his involvement in Iron Chef Japan and U.S. He has very unique ways of creating amazing food and passion for food. Would love to experience a day with him and enjoy his creations.

What’s your go-to happy place? I was brought up enjoying what B.C. can bring us, enjoying the mountains, lakes, rivers and our great outdoors.

What are you most proud of? Joining and becoming a partner with The Bistro at The Castle at Swan Lake. With the help of Jacqueline (Brooks), she has given me back the passion to continue cooking within this city of ours.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Visit the volcanos of Hawaii
2. Go on a coastal fishing trip in the honour of my dad
3. Try to live a healthier lifestyle for my family

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Escargot and frog legs. Other than that, I love to experiment with the flavours and products from this great province.

Latest movie or book? The last movie was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The last book was Last of the Breed by Louis l’Amour.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Seeing and being with my dad every day before he passed on from ALS. I was able to say goodbye.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Being with family is the only way to spend your last days of life.

Teresa May
Contributed - Mar 23, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: www.jessica-andy.ca

What business or organization are you involved with? Teresa May Agency

What is your role with that organization? Founder and director, helping talent find roles in films, commercials and events

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The recreation and culture. Okanagan Lake is a passage that links three cities together, and it’s full of activities for families and friends to enjoy on water and on land. From wineries to golf courses to one of my favourite activities—wake surfing! As for culture, there are many opportunities for theatre, ballet, opera and symphony to take in every single weekend of the year. The Okanagan has so much to offer.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Dead or alive? Princess Di, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa. They are people who were not afraid to stand up for others, who were full of compassion and gave of themselves to others. Real role models!

What’s your go-to happy place? My go-to happy place is volunteering in my community with my friends. There is nothing that makes a person feel better than showing some random acts of kindness each and every day. To get out and really give your time to serve your community in some way each week may seem like an altruistic act, but it is truly a way to feed one’s own emotional well-being, too. When I can put a smile on someone’s face, I smile not only on the outside but in my heart as well.

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my two children: Alisha, who’s 32 and Trevor, who’s 23. They have become two loving, kind, compassionate human beings with big hearts and gentle souls. I love them both with all my heart, and I am proud of them every single day.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Why call it a bucket list of things to do before you kick the bucket but a life list to do while you are still living?

1. Build a home for at-risk teens (young adults)

2. Travel to more countries around the world

3. Trade the Tesla S to the Tesla Roadster

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Try everything at least once, I say. How about crunching on a piece of cricket? Or eat bear sausage!

Latest movie or book? The Elon Musk book. Love this guy for his intelligence, not his personality. I’m inspired by him because of his future outlook. He is light years ahead of anyone else.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I have ever received is a Kangen Water machine from my son. It is truly a gift of health. For a kid who is barely making a lot of income and who bought it for me because he wants to me healthy, now you know why I am so proud of my children.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would spend it with my husband, my kids, my family and my friends. Just throw a big party and live it up, as that is how I want them to remember me—life of the party! Do not be sad. My time in this world is over, and I will live in your hearts forever.

Jim Tabler
Contributed - Mar 02, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Parkers Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat.

What is your role with that organization? General manager and partner.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? It is all about the easy living in the Okanagan and outdoor lifestyle for me! I like to spend time outdoors- camping and love to play golf.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would love to have lunch with Tiger Woods. I think he would be a cool guy and could use some golf tips!

What’s your go-to happy place? I sit under the stars in the quiet of the night.

What are you most proud of? My kids. I am proud to see who they have become. They are great people!

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Travel, travel and travel some more! I would like to see more of Canada, Eastern Europe and cruise the Mediterranean.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? A chocolate-covered grasshopper. Yuk!

Latest movie or book? The Joker.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? When my younger son was eight years old, he gave me a collage of pictures that he had collected of him over the years. I still look at this every day and smile!

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would be with my family, good friends and my dogs!

Sarita Patel
Contributed - Feb 20, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Castanet

What is your role with that organization? Reporter

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The great people in the community! Given that I recently (October) moved to Kelowna, I still have a lot to explore, but I keep hearing “Wait until you experience a summer here!” So I can’t wait for the heat!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Definitely Peyton Manning. He is one of my favourite athletes, and he has a great sense of humour! Imagine the stories I’d hear!

What’s your go-to happy place? My best friend’s lake house in North Bay, Ontario. She lives right on Lake Nipissing, where in the summers I enjoy BBQ, campfires and fishing. While in the winters we head out to the hut and go ice fishing and go snowmobiling. Also, her views of sunrises and sunsets are the best I’ve seen.

What are you most proud of? Getting out of my comfort zone at TSN in Toronto and moving out to Fort St. John to work on local news.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Experiencing the Aurora Borealis.
2. Go to a Super Bowl—preferably to watch the Packers win another title.
3. Head down to South America

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I’m not that adventurous. Super boring with my food, sorry.

Latest movie or book? Book: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Movie: 1917.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The Blue Jays limited edition Roots leather jacket, thanks to my brother.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Probably eat my favourite food and throw a huge bash inviting literally everyone under the sun to celebrate life!

Miriam Halpenny
Miriam Halpenny - Feb 10, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Castanet.

What is your role with that organization? Reporter.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The hot summers and beautiful beaches.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would choose Seth Rogen, because he’s a comedic genius and I love a good laugh!

What’s your go-to happy place? It would have to be my mom and dad’s house in Okotoks, Alta., because there’s nothing better than hanging with your parents! Plus they make amazing food all the time.

What are you most proud of? I’m most proud of myself for starting my career at such a young age and for moving to a different city on my own to pursue that career.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Write a book.
2. Go skydiving.
3. Travel to Europe.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? The weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten would definitely have to be the scorpion pizza I tried at the Calgary Stampede.

Latest movie or book? The latest movie I watched was The Grudge remake. I’m a sucker for scary movies.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I ever received was my car on my 17th birthday.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would completely disconnect from social media and fly somewhere warm with all of my loved ones. I’d like to watch my last sunset on a beach in Mexico.

Ben Shipley
Contributed - Nov 15, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Hotel Zero.

What is your role with that organization? DJ and music producer.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? My favourite thing about living in the Okanagan is the green space. It’s so full of inspiration!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would have lunch with Laidback Luke. He’s one of the most knowledgeable and wise people in the dance music scene right now, and I would love to hear more of what he has to say!

What’s your go-to happy place? My go-to happy place is most definitely Knox Mountain Park. It’s a great place to go ride a bike for a while and clear my head.

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my brand new album, “Good Times.” I’ve spent six months working on it, and it’s the first thing I bring up whenever I’m talking about music!

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1: Go skydiving. I’ve never done it before, and I feel like it would be so exhilarating!
2. Visit small island nations and learn their culture. Pacific island culture has always interested me!
3. Go on tour across Canada. I’ve traveled far and wide across the country, but to visit new places because of my music would be amazing.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? This is a hard question. I’ve eaten a lot of weird things! What takes the cake though is a plate of tiny fried fish that had been fried whole and served. I ate it in Spain on a school trip, and I’m pretty proud to say I’m the only person in our group of about 30 who was able to finish it!

Latest movie or book? I haven’t seen many movies recently, but my all-time favourite movie is How To Train Your Dragon. That soundtrack is absolutely perfect.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I’ve ever received is a recording interface and microphone. I could not have been more thankful for it as it has singlehandedly helped me become who I am today!

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I’d spend it skiing, biking and deejaying!

Deb Lawless
Contributed - Oct 10, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Halloween Alley.

What is your role with that organization? District co-ordinator.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Although most people think I love the fall, I love all seasons and mostly that is because of the 18 years living in the Okanagan. I love that we can truly enjoy every season in Kelowna, whether it be sports or other activities—enjoying a patio dinner along the waterfront or skiing and enjoying all winter has to offer up at Big White.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would love to have lunch with Richard Branson. Although I love working for corporations, I have done many things and consider myself still to be an entrepreneur. I love his zest for life, taking chances and trying new things. I always say, “Go big or go home.”

What’s your go-to happy place? My happy place is just hanging out with my family and friends. With family living in other provinces, my community has been surrounded by an amazing tribe of friends that have been here for myself and family throughout the 18 years of us trying to raise our children. There is no one that makes me happier than my friends. I am truly grateful for all in my life.

What are you most proud of? Without doubt, my three children. Sometimes I say they drive me crazy, but my love for them … well, I can’t even explain. I wish I could keep them little forever. However, everything I do in my life is to ensure they have every opportunity they want to try in life. It is my job as a mother to give suggestions and help them to make decisions on their own (hopefully good ones). I am not perfect, nor always right, but hopefully they learn to be true to their passions, work hard, be honest and live their best life ever! (quoted by my 18 year old)

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1) Travel to Australia (and make a pitstop in Hawaii)
2) Be a billionaire with a cause that helps change the world
3) Have lunch with Richard Branson

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I did eat bugs in Alberta once. However, I went to an Iranian restaurant with my husband many years ago and really enjoyed it!

Latest movie or book? I’m currently reading the book “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? I wouldn’t say it was something tangible. I have learned from a lot of people in my life that have passed away. The traditions and morals my family have instilled in me truly make me who I am. So to answer the question clearly, I would have to say all the memories that I have and am able to pass on. The people in my life complete me to who I am.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? If I found out today was my last day, I think I would find my children, hug them lots, write them a note of how grateful I am and tell them that life is just starting, so live every moment to the fullest like it was their last day. I may partake in a few beverages with my tribe and look forward to the best sleep ever!

Brooke Astells
Contributed - Sep 11, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With what business or organization are you involved? Innerspace Watersports.

What is your role with that organization? Marketing management.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? What I love the most about the Okanagan is having four distinctive seasons. Summers are made for playing behind the boat and kayaking! Fall is perfect for hikes up Silver Star and dirt biking. Winter brings the champagne powder to ski and snow bike in! And spring allows for a bit of everything. Late season turns on the mountains and early season paddling begins!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My mum. Because I like her the most.

What’s your go-to happy place? Depends on the season! Kal Lake secret beach in the summer and the top of a snowy mountain peak in the winter.

What are you most proud of? My ability to continue learning and expanding my interests and skill set.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Working at Innerspace Watersports allows me to do most of the things that were on my bucket list. Snow biking, surfing, diving, trips! I am very luck in that regard. I supposed if I were to re-write it I would say …
• Become a sponsored snow bike athlete in the coming seasons or be a Timbersled ambassador
• Become more involved in ski touring in remote areas, including cat skiing and heli-skiing
• Buy a house

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? While travelling in western Australia I was invited to a traditional Aussie barbecue. Being a vegetarian I was hesitant but decided ‘when in Rome,’ so I allowed myself to try everything they were cooking, including emu sausages, crocodile and kangaroo. I liked the crocodile. The rest I wouldn’t need to try again.

Latest movie or book? The latest movie I saw was Once Upon a Time In Hollywood at the Vernon Cineplex. I wanted to see the Lion King but didn’t know how I felt about 3D, so was convinced to see this one.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? A car.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With all my favourite people eating all of our favourite food and maybe we could go for a swim and a ski in the same day! It would have to be July in Whistler so we could ski the glacier and swim in the lakes in the afternoon!

Vicky Belteton
Contributed - Jul 18, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Kids Spanish Club Kelowna (Fun Spanish classes for children)

What is your role with that organization? Owner/founder and Spanish teacher

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The people, the lake and weather!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would love to have lunch with my Granma and Grampa. I miss them so much! I would like to sit and talk with them and ask for some advice.

What’s your go-to happy place? A quiet place by the water.

What are you most proud of? My nine-year-old son is my pride and joy!

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
• A trip to Paris and Greece
• Going to an Adele concert
• Meeting Robert Downey Jr

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Zompopos de Mayo con sal y limon! Yummy big ant butts with lemon and salt. They taste and crunch like peanuts, and the season is too short to linger! (You can only eat them during rain season in May)

Latest movie or book: Actually reading Becoming, by Michelle Obama.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My son Matteo! He was born Christmas Day in Kelowna at 8 p.m.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Having a big party with mariachis and my whole family in Guatemala!

Edan Fay
Contributed - May 29, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With which business or organization are you involved? The Royal Kelowna hotel

What is your role? Director of operations

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Being able to enjoy the outdoors year round. Lake, golf, beaches, wineries, fishing, hunting and, of course, skiing.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My Grandma Jean. She is the coolest and one of the most interesting people I know. She’s in her 90s and can still take me at crib.

What’s your go-to happy place? Anywhere with family and friends, golf club in hand or a fishing rod on the boat or on the ice. No matter, as long as I am with good people.

What are you most proud of? My family and my kids. I have never done anything as important or satisfying as being a father to my three kids and a husband to my wife.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
• Sky diving
• Driving a race car
• Taking a month off to travel with my family to somewhere exotic

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Rattlesnake or prairie oysters.

Latest movie or book? Pillars of the Earth. It was an amazing read.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My kids.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Camping with my family at a mountain-top lake and sitting around the fire at night. Perfection.

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