VANCOUVER — Foodservice and hospitality professionals gathered to learn about industry products and trends and take in chef competitions this week, from Jan. 27 to 28, at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Several chefs spoke at the show, including Rob Feenie, Chuck Currie and John Bishop. And, on the showroom floor, the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Culinary Federation crowned Will Tse, executive chef at Vancouver-based Sandbar Restaurant, Chinese Chef of the Year, in the B.C. Chinese Chef of the Year Competition.
“I know about Chinese cooking, but I’sm classically European-trained, so it was a bit of a stretch. I had to rack my brain to learn the plating and the style,” he said. “I’m used to entrée cooking, so I took time to look at Chinese magazines to get the feel of what a Chinese plate looks like.”
Tse cooked three dishes, including a seafood medley; Banana-leaf Rouladen with prawns and scallops; as well as squab, quinoa and mushrooms. Tse advances to the next round of the Chinese Chef of the Year competition. The winner will travel to China to represent Canada. Tse was also crowned the B.C. Chef of the Year, defeating several competitors in a black-box cook-off.
Meanwhile, several creative products were on hand at the food expo, including Nonna Pia’s Classic Balsamic Reduction, an authentic six-hour reduction, rather than a glaze as well as a newly designed portable drink carrier by Porta Brands Canada. Max Ali, owner of the Canadian rights to the new packaging idea, says the holder’s design outperforms any standard carry-out drink tray.
“The unique feature is its completely marketable — it can be logoed. It’s also biodegradable, water resistant and recyclable,” said Ali. “[The] objective is to get customers to spend as much money at concessions as possible. Now you can have them pick up four drinks in one hand and food in the other without having to return to wait in line.” The design, which originates in London, England, is already being used successfully at large sports venues in the U.K.