Lac La Hache home cook Holly Butterfield has always loved to make food.
Over the years Butterfield has cooked for family, friends and students alike. She combines her love of the outdoor with her cooking, using ingredients she forages, hunts, and fishes herself or buys from the South Cariboo Farmer’s Market.
“I’m a homestyle chef who likes jazzing her food up and trying to make it look pretty. Everybody loves to eat and you have to do it, so why not have fun with it?” Butterfield, 47, said. “I love getting together around the kitchen table and food is what brings families together over the dinner table.”
This summer she is cooking up a new adventure as she participates in Carla Hall’s Favourite Chef competition. For the next few weeks Butterfield, along with dozens of other chefs from across North America, will compete for the chance to win $25,000 and a two-page advertorial in the Taste of Home Magazine.
Butterfield said she enjoys dabbling in all things food related and often browses social media for inspiration. Several weeks ago she came across the competition’s page and decided to enter on a whim, submitting some photos of herself and her food along with a write-up.
“I said you know what Holly, no expectations, just put it out there as who you are, be as authentic as you possibly can. Just write what comes from your heart and that’s what I did,” Butterfield said. “Before you knew it I was accepted and then I made the top 20, then the top 15 and now I’ve made the top 10.”
The entire contest takes place online with Butterfield and the other chefs encouraged to share pictures of their food on social media. As a people’s choice contest, they rely on their community to get them to the next round. To help them do this Butterfield said contestants take part in virtual workshops run by online influencer chefs who give them tips and tricks about food presentation.
Currently, Butterfield is competing to reach the top five of her group with the Group finals set to begin on Thursday, July 13.
If she’s able to make it through she’ll have to beat out her competition in the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and the Finals, with the overall winner to be announced on August 25.
“It’s surreal. It’s very exciting but at the same time it’s completely overwhelming because I don’t know what I’m getting myself into,” Butterfield said.
“I’m a bit of a perfectionist and hard on myself, so I just want to do really well. That’s how I put my food out when I cook, I want it to do really well and I want people to like it and see that they enjoy what I’ve made.”
In addition to the money and the magazine feature, Butterfield would get a chance to meet Chef Hall in New York and get to cook for her. It’s an exciting opportunity and one she is hopeful the community will help her reach.
If she wins, Butterfield plans to donate some of the money to Lac La Hache Elementary or 100 Mile Elementary to start a breakfast program for students. The rest she’d like to invest into buying a food truck or an at-home catering business.
“(Going to New York) that would just be, wow, I think I’d be at a loss for words. It would be a great experience and opportunity and I just feel like this is maybe a new path for me. God only knows where it could lead from there, right?”
Those interested can vote for Butterfield online at favchef.com/2023/holly-butterfield.