I know I gushed last year at what a wonderful event this was… but there were some critiques. I’m so happy to say that Chef Blackie, the visionary behind the event, and his bad ass team took these suggestions to heart and improved in ways that were both vast and subtle. Here were my top 5 favourite things about this year’s event:

1. The timing of the event. Taking it from an all day demo session to a half day saved my arse. By 5pm last year it was simply tingling at having sat in the same chair so long. This year the demos got started at noon, with each team getting a hard 20 minutes to demo followed by a question and answer period while the amazing students at Algonquin who were involved got ready for the next team. Even the mid-point snack was super efficient, allowing a huge crowd to leave the studio, eat and walk a bit in a relatively short amount of time.

2. The talent. Susur Lee?? Vikram Vij?? Lynne Crawford? All within slapping distance?!?! Simply amazing. This event truly showed off some of Canada’s best talent from coast to coast along with highlighting our city’s best.

 This was seconds after I asked if I could sit on Susur’s lap. Notice the uneasy look in his eyes.
PS – Thanks to the Gouda Life for taking this wonderful photo!

3. The tasting structure. At first when I heard that both the tickets for the demo and the after party would get you access to the tasting portion of the evening I thought – well that will be a 800 person cluster cuss. But no. Those who were in for the demo got a whole hour before the other ticket holders arrived to eat. So by the time the others arrived the lines were already quieting down and ready for the next rush. No long lines for any food or to meet any of the chefs. Sure you might have to wait 5 minutes… but in a crowd that size, 5 minutes is peanuts.

4. The  program / keepsake. Only the next day did I realize my stupidity… the program that was made for this year’s event is gorgeous. Every page features bios of the chefs along with the recipe for their dish. Wouldn’t it have been smart to have each one of them sign it?? Yes. Yes. it would have. These programs were one of those improvements from last year that really stuck out in my mind. A wonderful addition to the event.

5. The food and wine. Chef teams really out did themselves with the food this year. From trying the exotic, to finally finding lamb that I enjoy – the food and wine were simply amazing and a reason on to itself to come back again next year.

 

Kudos to all involved … you rocked it like a dolphin riding a unicorn through space. Translation – it was amazing, thank you for inviting me.

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