Last Thursday a dozen of Vancouver’s top Chefs piled into the Pan Pacific with a small team, and hundreds of small plates waiting to be filled. The BC Hospitality Foundation and the Wines of Chile partnered up to throw an elegant evening of food and wine, known as Dish N’ Dazzle.
Hoards of seemingly famished (but probably just overzealous) guests swarmed each table, forcing the Chefs to be quick on their feet. As expected, some were more successful than others at catering to the crowd’s pace, but some were rightfully slower as they prepared more intricate dishes.
Despite arriving on time, I was unable to try all of the Chefs’ creations. This was partly due to me socializing, but mostly due to the fact that 80% of them ran out of product midway through the evening. Chef Lucais Syme, Executive Chef at La Pentola della Quercia, wasn’t bothered by the fact that he ran out, because it just meant that he was able to taste the other creations, grab a cocktail and mingle with the guests. As much as events like these are about the food, to me they are ultimately about getting to know the Chef and seeing them outside of the kitchen. Fortunately, I was able to try his dish before he ran out. I was also fortunate to try Italian Kitchen’s Chef Shaughn Wells’ fried zucchini blossom just as he was making his last batch.
The dishes prepared were (in no particular order):
Executive Chef, Bob Wiles
Merken Spiced Chorizo seared Qualicum Bay Scallop
Tarte a la Serena Libre – Cinnamon Cream Tart topped with fresh Carica Chile Mountain Papaya macerated in Pisco & Lemon Syrup garnished with Cilantro Foam
Pier 7 Restaurant + Bar
Chef Dino Renearts
Pulled Chicken Tostada topped with Cumin Spiced Black Beans, Tomatillos and Salsa Verde
Executive Chef, Chris Whittaker
Stinging Nettle and Halibut Cheek filled Cannelloni topped with a Morel Mushroom Purée
ORU Cuisine at the Fairmont Pacific Rim
Chef Darren Brown
Chicken, Chorizo and Sweet Potato Filled Croquettes served on Smoked Corn Picadillo
Chef Alvin Pillay
Fresh Green Peas, Ricotta and Bacon, drizzled with Olive Oil
Chef Ann Kirsebom
Grand Marnier Dark Chocolates
La Pentola della Quercia
Executive Chef Lucais Syme
Confit leg, sautéed liver and foie gras terrine with cannellini beans, duck prosciutto and shaved walnuts
Gotham Steakhouse and Cocktail Bar
Chef Jean-Claude Douget
Mini Lobster Cob Salad on Brioche served with a side of Lobster Bisque
Bistro 101 at PICA
Chef Kristin Tonks
Prawn and Avocado Mousse served on a Nori Crisp
Executive Chef, Shaughn Halls
Burrata and Polenta stuffed Zucchini Blossom
Executive Chef, Alana Peckham
Smoked Tomato Gazpacho with Baby Shrimp, Dill and Lemon
While for many the event was predominantly about the food, for others the focus was the Chilean wine, centred around Sauvignon Blanc, Chile Champions, Carmenere and its blends and organic wines. The first table I wound up at was the “Champions Table”, which offered a selection of full bodied reds from different vineyards, including the Undurraga Terroir Hunter Carignan that I tasted. The purpose of this table, as explained by the wine rep, was to prove that “Chilean wine can compete against the World’s best wines, while also being very cellar worthy”.
In addition to the food and wine component of the event, there was also a cocktail competition that included some of Vancouver’s best mixologists. It was judged by Robin ‘H’ Holl-Allen, Sophie Lui and Mijune Pak.
Participants included: Alfred Sui from Yaletown Distillery with the Pero Espumoso, Josh Boudreau from Veneto Lounge in Victoria with the Stormy Heather, Lauren Mote from Kale & Nori/Bittered Sling with the Middle Earth, Ryan McDonald from Uva Wine Bar with the Cola de Mono, Tia Stonier from The Mix by Rics with The Lone Butterfly, Robin Gray from Pidgin with the Mestizo Grogg and Julia Diakow from Killjoy Barbers with the Nueva Ola.
While I was particularly fond of Josh’s Stormy Heather and Tia Stonier’s The Lone Butterfly and appreciated the uniqueness of Ryan’s Cola de Mono, it was Lauren Mote who walked away with the trophy that evening. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision as they were all fantastic concoctions!
Through ticket sales, raffle tickets and the silent auction, $40,000 was raised to benefit the BC Hospitality Foundation.
For more photos check out my Dish N Dazzle gallery on Flickr.