Greetings everyone!  Just a reminder to have Team B.C. in your thoughts
as the British Columbia Culinary Arts Foundation sends them to Erfurt,
Germany from October
19-23 to take part in the International Exhibition of Culinary Arts cooking
competition.

Otherwise known as “the Culinary Olympics,” and held every four years, this
event attracts leading chefs from all over the world to battle in a number of
culinary skill competitions.  Over 50
teams, representing almost every continent, will vie for gold medal supremacy
in the cooking world.  This year’s roster
lines up like this:

Manager:  Jane Ruddick (J.R. Food
Consultants)

Team Captain:  Poyan Danesh (The Pear
Tree Restaurant)

Team Pastry Chef:  Fumiko Moreton (Terminal
City Club)

Other Members: Raman Anand (The Sutton Place Hotel), Ryan Cain (The Marriot Place Hotel), and Andrew Dickenson (Ambrosia Catering and Events Centre.)

Good Luck!

http://www.bccaf.com/team%20bc.html

This past weekend, I attended Earthsave Canada’s 10th annual Taste of Health Food Festival.  The event – part vegetarian trade show, part ecological symposium – celebrates healthy living, environmental stewardship, and the ever-important shift towards localized food production and sustainability.

As a limited meat eater (no beef or pork, little poultry, never enough seafood) it was great knowing I could sample indiscriminately and never have to ask, “what’s in this?”  There were approximately 50 businesses represented (mostly local, though a few big ones, including Silk) offering specialty teas, vegan chocolate and cheesecake, organic food delivery, and other Earth-friendly products and services.  I sampled dairy-free cheese spreads, granola mixes, vegan taquitos, and was amazed at how diverse and delicious this industry has become since the days of tofurkey.  It’s great to see that BC has some first-class offerings with which to serve to the world table.

I said before this event packed a one-two punch, and while the food delivered a convincing message, Earthsave also booked world-renouned speakers who provided plenty of proof outside the pudding.  The keynote speaker deserves his own introduction for another forum, but here is an interesting highlight from another expert attending:

Josh Brandon of Greenpeace spoke about climate change, oil scarcity, and sustainable agriculture as the three most important issues we face in today’s changing world.  To combat rising food and energy costs, Mr. Brandon advocates for smaller scale food production and encourages businesses to create local networks with which to share resources and achieve greater sustainability.

“Supporting local farmers is crucial to our food security and will ensure we have enough healthy food to eat,” Brandon says.

The message is clear:  We must face the challenges of high energy costs,  the loss of stable climate and agricultural land by working together to provide for ourselves locally what we now rely on internationally.  If every small, designated area can innovate a local, sustainable network of committed businesses and citizens, we can be self-sustaining, save money and have something left that we can all enjoy in the end.

Try a bite of vegan, organic fruit-infused chocolate produced responsibily and locally if you need more convincing.

By Lauren Mote

Once again I found myself at Voya Restaurant a few nights ago. Vancouver’s top bartenders congregated in front of Voya’s bar to sample some of bar manager Jay Jones’ new creations, and then sit down to a three-course meal, where each dish was spiked with either Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, or Navan Vanilla cognac. This was a dinner to qualify a top bartender for the Grand Marnier Summit in Vail, Colorado, …by invitation only. Amongst the smiling faces that evening, Chambar’s Wendy McGuinness, Cin-Cin’s Colin Turner, George’s Shaun Layton, Boneta’s Simon Kaulback, Hamilton Street Grill’s Ryan Cheverie, Granville Room’s Trevor Kallies, and The Fairmont Hotel’s Marco Pelliccia, and of course, I was representing Chow Restaurant, and had a smile big and bright like the Cherish cat.

Although this was a “bartender appreciation dinner”, what would come next really peaked everyone’s curiosity and competitive side. Emily Patterson, representative to the Grand Marnier brand in Vancouver, explained why we were rubbing elbows together, followed by the rules and regulations surrounding an exciting event in the very near future.

“GRAND MARNIER and NAVAN are looking to hire the nation’s best bartenders as consultants to participate in the third GRAND MARNIER and NAVAN Mixology Summit in Vail, Colorado (Sunday, April 5 –Tuesday, April 7, 2009). If selected, GRAND MARNIER and NAVAN will use your skills to help build their great brands.  In addition to learning from your mixology expertise, we will have fun in Vail — skiing, snow tubing, seminars, dining and parties.” (http:/www.mixologysummit.com/Event.aspx)

Winners across North America will be selected using a points system. Each will receive points for attending the dinner at Voya for starters, followed by significant points given for original recipes submitted by the mixologist for the “Grand Marnier Encyclopedia of Cocktails” (each participant will receive one), and concluded by the cocktails’ addition to the bartender’s cocktail program at their home restaurant.

Voya Restaurant’s Sous Chef Tret Jordan prepared a delicious three course accompaniment to match Marnier – Lapostolle owned Chateau de Sancerre (Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc) and Chile’s Casa Lapostolle (Bordeaux black grape varieties) and Jay Jones’ original cocktails that seemed to continuously emerge from the bar throughout the evening.

Grand Marnier would send us home today with a 750mL bottle of their signature Cordon Rouge, and their Navan Vanilla Cognac to peak the taste-buds and creative brain-waves. On their official website for the Grand Marnier summit in Vail, it states that each mixologist must submit 5 original recipes; 4 made from the signature Cordon Rouge orange-infused cognac, and 1 from the natural Navan Vanilla Cognac – after tonight’s incredible display of creativity, Jay Jones already has a significant head-start.

Be on the lookout, and support your local bartenders as they strive towards Vail, and have a chance at becoming the next Iron “Bar” Chef. Other participating restaurants/bartenders include DB Bistro Moderne and Brown’s Social Room.

For more information on the Vail, Colorado event please visit

http:/www.mixologysummit.com/Event.aspx

For more brand specific information, please visit

http://grandmarnier.com

http://navanworld.com

Editor’s Note:  Please visit Lauren Mote’s fantastic food blog and give her a shout out at www.poivremedia.ca

By Ed Dugas

On January 25th and 26th, BC Place hosted the annual BC Food Service
Exposition, Western Canada’s largest hospitality trade show. The event
is held by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA)
which represents 33,000 industry members across Canada.

This showcase event serves both as an opportunity for the public to
peruse what the industry has to offer, and as an ideal business to
business networking opportunity where new relationships between
restaurants and suppliers are forged, and existing ones are
strengthened.

The power of networking and community building is of fundamental
importance in the F&B industry, as is the opportunity to share
information and insight. This is why the CRFA includes a number of
seminar opportunities for businesses to understand how to incorporate
green practices, be more effective managers, and take advantage of the
opportunities the Winter Olympic Games will offer.

As in years past, live “culinary excellence” cooking competitions were
staged, one of which featured members of the BC Chef’s Association and
their quest for Chef-of-the-Year supremacy. The Chef-of-the-Year
Competition is an Iron-Chef style event where chefs have to work with
mystery ingredients and a limited time frame. Just like in a
professional cooking environment, thinking on your feet and exhibiting
creativity and superior planning pays off.

The feature event was the Hot Competition Live! In its 13th year, this
competition featured chefs of all levels from aspiring Red Seal
certified. Each team brings their recipes and are judged by a panel of
respected culinarians. These were great opportunities for visitors to
take a break from the exhibitions and see real interactive displays,
equipped with overhead mirrors so everyone could see what the cooks
were doing behind the line.

As for the exhibitors at this annual event, they’re always on their “A”
games. Each year brings about exciting products and services which
focus on new technologies, environmentalism and revolutionary product
ideas. There are many great new products and services featured, so
it’s hard to mention everyone. But here are a few we noticed that we
thought were worth mentioning.

We saw a lot of interesting trends towards environmentally-friendly
products. There were a few companies promoting potato and corn-based
disposable containers, which are better for the environment than
petroleum-based plastics. The forks, knives, spoons, plates and
containers were indistinguishable from conventional plastic options,
but make a big difference if they end up in the landfill.

Ponderosa Mushrooms had a very interesting booth filled with bundles
and bundles of the tasty morsels for display. I thought they did an
excellent job incorporating the product into the booth space, and had
quite a lot of variety of mushrooms to really give a personalized
vision of their selection for potential customers.

Site Benefits is an interactive company that is helping get the F&B
industry online. This Ottawa-based company specializes in web
management, analytics analysis, web design and reservation technology.
This company is part of the growing evidence that shows the industry is
starting to embrace the power of the internet in droves.

Simple but interesting, the Creamery Plastic Products company showcased
their Steam Pan Ice Chiller, which is great for catering and off-site
functions. These plastic trays keep ice cold for up to 8 hours, and
fit in with most existing metal containers. These are perfect for the
chef on the go!

Another growing industry is organic waste removal. While most
companies had a green spin for their businesses, there were a few that
are making this cause their bread and butter. These companies,
including Organic Resource Management Inc., BSI Biodegradable Solutions
and Green Table Network either provide organic oil and grease removal,
biodegradable supplies or are touting the importance of networking in
the green movement. Let’s hope a lot of money gets invested into these
and other similar ventures in the future.

The Expo will be back in 2010, right at the cusp of the Winter Olympic Games. Please visit http://www.crfa.ca/
to learn more about the trade show and register for next year! And
thanks to everyone who chatted with Industry Blender and gave us so
much great feedback and support at the show.