EAT Vancouver, one of Vancouver’s most popular food and cooking festivals made its annual return earlier this month. This time it has been revamped with a different approach and format than years previous.
Rather than congregating during the summer season at BC Place with bite-sized samples and culinary demonstrations, EAT Vancouver opted for a Fall date, celebrating the best of Vancouver and Canada’s multifaceted food scene, with a host of collaborative dinners at various restaurants, panel discussions with top chefs, gatherings and workshops.
Some Vancouverites were lucky enough to attend mouth-watering sold out events such as EAT! Harvest epicurean feast –an intimate evening with chef Michael Smith serving Fall dishes from his latest cookbook, and the BETA 5 Chocolate Demo with Chocolatier, Adam Chandler. While others took their questions to the panel of top chefs.
The Food Trends Tasting Class and Discussions was moderated by Lindsay William-Ross, featuring Jackie Kai Ellis, owner of Beaucoup Bakery and Cafe and The Paris Tours, Denise Breyley, chief forager at Whole Foods Market, Sarah Stewart, executive chef of Juniper Kitchen and Bar, and Robertson Allen, consultant at The Hartman Group.
Current trends of how global is manifested local were explored. “It can’t ever really be defined or be wrapped up in a box with a pretty bow. It’s always evolving. It’s interesting that all throughout history, we have been taking where we’ve come from, the food that we call our own, and can find local ingredients that can translate into these recipes. And that becomes Canadian food.” says Jackie. Similarly, Robertson believes that it’s all about “discovery and experience.”
Jackie’s wit had the crowd chuckling in agreement that Canada, mainly Vancouver, is one of the leaders of the juicing trend. Given the widely popular The Juice Truck, and offerings of juice blends throughout the city, many Vancouverites can agree to that statement.
Additionally, one of the advantages that Canadians have is the “advantage to grow many different products and have immense diversity where we can adopt and bring plants from abroad. Just by the amount of stuff we can produce, we create trends.” says Sarah. “As a chef, I challenge myself to cook seasonally and to use ingredients that are close by.”
Further touching on topics such as being early adopters of specific foods, and the benefits or disservice of calling something a trend, one of the main topics was the unpacking of gluten-free as a trend, product and marketing angle. Even though gluten is known as a legitimate health issue and should be taken seriously, or based on a personal choice, the experts consensus was that it can be good. As Jackie jokingly said “if you don’t want your gluten, give it to me!” I couldn’t agree with you more.
For me, the biggest key takeaway from EAT Vancouver is to take the time educate and evaluate a product in its entirety. Understand what is in the food that you are eating and the why and how it affects your body. To enjoy and appreciate what you are eating. And to eat what your body truly needs.
In today’s modern age, how can you speak about food trends without mentioning Instagram. The social media app is synonymous with romancing a story behind certain foods.
But it is not only the the widely used app that garners attention, but also target words used, and they way that they are marketed. Words such as organic, gluten, or salted caramel. Even the placement of an item makes all the difference.
This was a well informed discussion and a well educated panel. With smart samplings of select products sold at Whole Foods market. Immediately following, attendees were encouraged to try the offerings like peanut butter nanaimo bars, orange dark chocolate from vegan Zimt Chocolates, Medjool dates from Bard Valley, sourdough bread from Terra Breads spread with butter from The Farm House, all paired with a glass of your choice of red or white wine.
If you were not able to make it to this year’s EAT Vancouver, be sure to check out their website for 2017’s festival.