VANCOUVER – Chef Meets Grape — the largest B.C. food and wine event in Vancouver — toasted B.C.’s winemakers, winery proprietors and chefs to a sell-out crowd. The fifth annual event, put on by the B.C. Wine Institute, paired 13 of Vancouver’s finest chefs with more than 40 B.C. VQA wineries serving the ‘Best of B.C.’ to close to 400 people at the Westin Bayshore.
The competition for top awards was stiff as chefs from Le Gavroche, Goldfish Pacific Kitchen and Diva at the Met participated with 10 other restaurants in the evening’s wine and culinary challenge. The judges were very impressed with the dishes the chefs prepared for the evening’s crowd – awarding the restaurant teams from Bin 941 and 942 and Mosaic at the Hyatt honourable mentions before giving executive chef Michael Batke, and his team from the Westin Bayshore, the coveted 2009 title for the Judges’ Choice for Best Food and Wine Pairing award. Batke’s Pacific scallop ravioli was deliciously paired with the 2008 Hester Creek Estate Winery’s Trebbianno, earning top marks from the judges.
Judge Andrea Vescovi, respected wine director and restaurant manager at the Blue Water Café and first time Chef Meets Grape judge, noted that it was difficult for the judging team to choose just one winner from the 13 food and wine pairings presented. “We are giving out two honourable mentions, along with the traditional Judges’ Choice award, to acknowledge the level of excellence for best food and wine pairing the restaurant participants brought to this evening’s competition.”
This year the People’s Choice award went to executive chef Milton Tanswell and his crew from Sanafir Restaurant and Desert Hills Estate Winery. Tanswell served “butter turkey with basmati rice, cucumber raita and mango chutney – a crowd pleaser pairing the spicy Asian dish with the floral and fruity notes of Desert Hills Estate Winery’s 2008 Gewürztraminer.
Chef Meets Grape is an annual fall event that brings together the fresh flavours of the province with B.C. VQA wines. This year 13 Vancouver Chefs prepared small-plate dishes, and more than 40 B.C. VQA wineries served their new autumn-release wines for people to enjoy at the event, which is organized by the British Columbia Wine Institute.