Follow Me Foodie to Dish ‘N Dazzle!
A Recap of The BC Hospitality’s Dish ‘N Dazzle Gala.
I care more about the dish than the dazzle, but the dazzle is always nice! I was certainly dazzled with all the food, wine and entertainment, but what’s more important is why we were all here. I was invited to attend The British Columbia Hospitality Foundation‘s (BCHF) annual Dish ‘N Dazzle gala at The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver. Part of the theme this year was Wines of Argentina and the event featured over 80 wines and food from 14 restaurants. All proceeds went to support BCHF which provides financial help for hospitality industry members facing overwhelming medical expenses as well as scholarships for hospitality and culinary students.
I honestly love and appreciate this industry. While some charities raise funds through hosting marathons or selling concert tickets, this industry celebrates all that is food and wine. Being able to run 10km is a healthy and satisfying goal, and being in the presence of legendary artists is truly a treat, but being able to eat and drink in order to support a good cause? Well now we’re talking my kind of language! Did I mention there was also a live band and that the 14 food stations were spread out in the Fairmont’s grand ballroom? So not only did we get to eat well, but I also got my music and cardio as I had to run around in circles making sure I tried every dish (maybe even twice… or three times), and capture all the culinary talent Vancouver has to offer. It was a great event with great people towards a great goal.
From cooks to chefs, winemakers to bartenders, restaurateurs to servers, food suppliers, industry media, industry publicists, vintners and wine sales representatives, it was an industry event that was open to the public. We were all there for one reason which was to support BC’s hospitality industry, so Follow Me Foodie to a recap of Dish ‘N Dazzle!
Grab a plate and your imagination because unfortunately you can’t try any of these things since it was made especially for the event. However in some cases the following restaurants did present things from their regular menu. Nonetheless due to the nature of the event I’m not going to comment on too much, although there were a few surprises and some restaurants that delivered beyond expectations. Oh and you might want to fill that plate I told you to grab because you’re sure to get hungry with what’s on the table!
On the table:
What a generous dish it was! Deep enough pockets to spoil the crowd! I have to start off with my favourite dish of the night. It was a beautifully seared scallop with a nice sweetness of raisins and good acidity from the capers in the emulsion for balance. It was salty, sweet and tangy and worth waiting in line for. I definitely went back for seconds, or thirds… okay fine I had at least 6. I could have pulled up a chair.
Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
“I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way” - lyrics from “Greatest Love Of All” by the late Whitney Houston. Yes, it still holds true! I’m also biased because of my associations with BC Chefs Association, but we really support PICA and students wanting to pursue a career in the culinary industry. The last time I tried dishes from their students was at the epic Taste of Talent Benefit Dinner followed by The Healthy Chefs Competition where they took “Best Entree” and “People’s Choice Award” – see here.
This was actually the first plate I had so it set a pretty high standard. Top a lovely steak with crispy pork rinds and who needs onion rings? I’ve actually dined at the restaurant before so if you’re curious to see dinner there see my post for Cafe Pacifica at Pan Pacific Vancouver.
And way to show off! Not that the rest of us didn’t appreciate it, but this was one of the few stations with two items and it was one of the two desserts of the whole event. I’m sure I wasn’t the only sweet tooth making multiple visits back. They were basically crispy cream puffs filled with dulce de leche and they were pretty freaking delicious. The liquid in the cup tasted like a shot of chilled cappuccino with fruit jellies in it.
Fleuri at The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver
Fleuri also presented two dishes. Move over soup and sandwich and hello soup and tacos! It was the only soup of the night and with the sabayon melted into the hot broth it ended up tasting like a seafood bisque.
Herons West Coast Kitchen + Bar at The Fairmont Waterfront
The plate from the host! The event was at Fairmont Waterfront so they had an upper advantage and featured a fancy carving station. Chef went with the Argentina wine theme, but the regular menu at the restaurant features local ingredients and West Coast cuisine… hence the name “Herons West Coast Kitchen”.
It was nice to see a mom and pop shop next to the hotels and bigger named restaurants. I’ve actually been to House of Empanadas before too – see my post here.
Hy’s Encore Steakhouse
Just hearing the name I expected The ONLY New York Striploin, but it was beef tartare. It was really creamy and there was a lot of acidity from capers and lemon juice. If you’ve never been to Hy’s make sure you start with Cheese Toast for Two. I hate saying anything is “the best”, but honestly thinking about that Cheese Toast makes my knees weak. I know. Most of us are capable of making “Cheese Toast” at home, but this one is really good. If you don’t like it, you must be on a diet. It’s good enough that if I was lactose intolerant, I might just think it was still worth the consequence… thank the dairy gods I’m not.
Kitsilano Daily Kitchen
This was another smaller name and independent restaurant that offers more or less casual fine dining. I’m a fan of oxtail, but not sure how I felt about the chilled risotto execution. The restaurant is really unique though as they offer a new menu every single day that is inspired by local and seasonal ingredients. I really don’t know of any other restaurants doing “daily menus” quite so literally. It’s pretty impressive.
Oru Restaurant at The Fairmont Pacific Rim
The bread was a bit hard, but it was one of the more inventive dishes and I just wanted to eat ice cream scoops of the heart of palm puree. It was almost like a bechamel or velouté sauce and heart of palm is so rare to come across that I savour the times I get it. It doesn’t taste like too much and it has a very mild flavour, but here it was done really well as a sauce.
PIER 7 Restaurant + Bar
This was the biggest surprise of the night for me! I was not expecting anything particularly memorable from Rockford, but it was actually one of my top 5 favourites of the night. The savoury and sweet was really well played and it was all in the chocolate bacon. Mind you the chocolate they used was almost a milk chocolate so it was quite sweet and the prawns were a bit drier, but given the time and proper preparation, these could have been a real hit! They already were for me and I was feeling the concept.
Sanafir of The Glowbal Collection
I missed a photo of Chef Ann Kirseböm’s Cranberry & Orange Confit with Chevre, Blue Cheese Cracker, but otherwise that sums up the food.
The Cocktail Shakedown
Alto de la Colino Recipe
1.5 oz Bartlett Pear-infused Belvedere Vodka
.5 oz Argentine white wine
.25 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liquer
.25 oz Fresh lime juice
.5 oz Fresh Cucumber Juice
The Hand of God by Justin Taylor from YEW Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel
The Hand of God Recipe
1.5 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Amber Rum
.5 oz Home Made Banana Liqueur
.125 oz Fernet Branca
1 bar spoon Mate powder
1 oz condensed milk
1 dark chocolate soccer ball cup
As soon as I saw the Fernet Branca it brought me back to my lesson in Amaro 101 – see here. Alone it is not so great, but in this cocktail it was good. Bartenders tend to understand Fernet Branca, I don’t… along with many other “non-bartender” people.
La Juan Pierrot Recipe
2 oz Cointreau
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
.5 oz fresh lime juice
2 muddled strawberries
2 oz wheat ale
Rain Shadow Recipe
1 oz Hornitos Reposado Tequila (served neat in a glass “Sangrita”)
1 oz Argentine Malbec
1 oz Clamato Juice
1 barspoon handmade Chimichurri (Argentine/Mexican spice sauce)
Corazón de León by Trixie Blümel from Shangri-La Hotel
Corazón de León Recipe
2 oz Cocoa Yerba Mate-infused Hennessy VS Congnac
.5 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth
.5 oz Passionfruit Caramel Reduction
2 dashes The bitter Truth Creole Bitters
Sol De Mayo by Grant Sceney from Fairmont Pacific Rim
Sol De Mayo Recipe
1.5 oz Glenmorangie “The Original” Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
.66 oz Yerba Mate TEa Syrup
.5 oz Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
.5 oz Fresh grapefruit juice
I apologize for missing the last 2 cocktail photos, at this point I wasn’t even sure what I was taking photos of. With all the wine tastings and then the cocktails… I couldn’t take anymore alcohol. My capacity for food is 10 times my capacity for alcohol. Bear with my Asian genes.
And just to credit the wineries involved…
- Bodega Catena
- Bodega Norton
- Bodegas Escorihuela 1884
- Casa Montes
- Clos de los Siete
- Familia Schroeder
- Familia Zuccardi
- Finca Flichman
- Flechas de los Andes- Compagnie Vinicole Baron Edmund de Rothschild
- Las Perdices
- Michel Torino
- Pascual Toso
- Santa Ana
- Santa Julia
- Va lentin Bianchi