The 21st Dine out Vancouver Festival returns, running from January 20 to February 5, 2023. The annual event involves the participation of over 350 restaurants, who offer multi-course meals that showcase the best of food and drink in the city.
While the anticipated reveal of the restaurants and their menus takes place January 11 (make a note in your calendar), tickets for Dine Out Vancouver events are now available—and as usual, they’re diverse, delectable, and uniquely experiential.
This year’s events are particularly exciting given that 2022 was a banner year for Vancouver’s dining scene. Eight restaurants in the city were awarded a Michelin star, with others awarded a Bib Gourmand; as well, a long list of restaurants made the Michelin recommended list.
Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson, executive chef at Published on Main, feels that, increasingly, Vancouver restaurants are getting internationally recognized for the high calibre of their cuisine. Published on Main not only received a Michelin star, but also was named the top restaurant by Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants for its revelatory melding of the local with the global.
Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Stieffenhofer-Brandson has cooked in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, including at Noma in Copenhagen. He feels that Vancouver’s culinary scene is particularly special because of chefs’ deft ability to play with an abundance of fresh ingredients. “I think we have access to, arguably, some of the best products in the world. That makes it really unique. The ocean is right there. We have the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan, Pemberton—all this amazing farmed produce within reach,” he says. He continues by listing wild foraged ingredients, such as various mushrooms, fiddleheads, elderflower, and berries.
Stieffenhofer-Brandson will be collaborating with Andy Doubrava and Tiffani Ortiz of Slow Burn for a sold out (waiting list open) Dine Out Vancouver World Chef Exchange dinner on January 29, 2023. Slow Burn, a roaming restaurant that started in California, features the talents of Doubrava and Ortiz, who worked at Michelin-starred restaurants before starting their own concept premised on closed loop cooking (zero-waste). Additionally, diners can catch Slow Burn at a dinner at the recently opened Novella Coffee Bar (owned by the same team as Published on Main) on January 30 (tickets to be released shortly).
Stieffenhofer-Brandson knew of Doubrava from his work at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, and follows him on Instagram. “When I was asked to invite a chef I would be inspired to work with, he was one of the first ones that came to mind. I think we share a similar mentality when it comes to using a lot of different ferments and preserves in our food,” says Stieffenhofer-Brandson. They’re both also big on flavourful sauces and condiments, and honouring terroir. Doubrava and Ortiz will be bringing product up from California to work with while Stieffenhofer-Brandson will be contributing B.C. ingredients. “Overall, it’s going to be an expression of West Coast cuisine, the northern part versus the southern part of it—California meets B.C. vibes,” he says.
The executive chef of Published will be attending another Dine Out Vancouver World Chef Exchange dinner at Michelin-starred AnnaLena between executive chef/co-owner Mike Robbins and Brandon Rice, chef/owner of the San Francisco’s Michelin recommended Ernest Restaurant on January 24 (sold out).
Tickets are still available for an exciting dinner collaboration between Lee Cooper, chef/owner of Michelin recommended L’Abattoir and Alex Chen, executive chef of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar. The meal will take place on February 1 in L’Abattoir’s gorgeous private dining room, with seating at two communal long tables.
Cooper is incredibly excited finally to be working with Alex Chen. They’re been talking about it for years but decided to make a dinner happen for this year’s Dine Out Vancouver. “I have a real appreciation for how Alex cooks. He’s very rooted in classic techniques, and he’s such a talent when it comes to the skills. He’s a real craftsman,” Cooper says. He says their common rootedness in French culinary fundamentals will create delicious synergy for the multi-course menu.
Collaboration dinners are really enjoyable for Cooper. “You get to see somebody else’s skillset on display. You pick some things up, or see how somebody has a different way of getting from point A to point B,” he says. The dinner on February 1 will be the first time collaborating with a chef in town versus one from beyond Vancouver—a first that signals the city’s incredible talent, which will continue to flourish with recent dining international accolades. “It creates a common goal. It’s going to push excellence and for our scene as a whole to be better,” Cooper says.
Since L’Abattoir opened in 2010, Cooper has participated in Dine Out Vancouver in various ways. “It’s great opportunity to create awareness of all the men and women who work really hard and do their best. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the industry,” he says. Other Dine Out Vancouver events provide unique experience that highlight the richness of the city’s culinary landscape.
Art, Eat and Sip on Granville Island (January 25, early bird tickets end December 30), organized by Vancouver Foodster, brings together three wonderful elements of the picturesque neighbourhood during one memorable evening. This self-guided roaming event involves a digital passport that participants will take to art studios, restaurants, and drinking establishments, such as a brewery and a distillery. Expect to meet and chat with chefs, talented local artists, as well as craft producers of local beer and spirits.
Multiple events celebrate the city’s Chinese cooking influences, such as a Chinatown Dumpling Masterclass presented by Historical Chinatown Tours (January 20-February 5); Chinatown: Quest for Dim Sum! led by Canadian Craft Tours (January 20, 21, 27, 28 and February 3, 4); Introduction to Dim Sum by A Wok Around Chinatown (January 21, 28, 29, and February 4, 5); and finally, A Wok Around Chinatown (January 21, 28, 29, and February 4, 5).
Other culturally-themed food events include Gelato 101 (January 4 to March 23) by Uno Gelato, which will teach participants how to make gelato, as well as give them a chance to sample 10 different kinds of gelato or sorbetto. They get a cone and cup of their choice, and a pint to take home that they crafted. Meanwhile, Live the Paella Experience Long Table Dinner (January 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31, and February 2, 3, 5), presented by the Paella Guys, gives guests the chance to watch paella being made, as well as enjoy Spanish tapas and live music. Beer pairings by Dageraad Brewing can be added.
Those who want a more spirited Dine Out Vancouver experience, can attend one of many events themed around artisan beverages. Options are Alchemy Vancouver: Coffee, Cocktails and Craft Beer (January 20, 21, 27, 28, and February 3, 4), hosted by Canadian Craft Tours; Hot ‘n’ Ready: It’s a Pizza Party (January 21, 22, 28, 29, February 4, 5), which features visits to two breweries and a distillery—with pizza and beer at one stop; Orchards, Vineyards and Fields: The Best of BC Craft Beverages (January 21, 22, 28, 29 and February 4, 50); Salty and Malty (January 22, 28, 29 and February 4, 5) for a tour of 3 craft breweries and a lobster roll from Salty’s Lobster Shack; and Craft Pizza and Beer Event (January 31), presented by Persephone Brewing Company at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Guests make their own pizza and feast on a three-course menu with pairings from the brewery.
For those who want a taste of harvesting local ingredients, Swallow Tail Tours is offering a Sea Foraging Trip with Chef Robin (January 24, 25, 28, 29, and February 4, 50) where participants will learn how to forage for items such as sea urchins and oysters. The event will include a bowl of steaming hot foraged chowder.
Finally, Street Food City (January 21-29) is back, bringing the best of Vancouver’s food trucks to the plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. Expect a multicultural array of eats, picnic tables, music, and plenty of folks sampling Vancouver’s exciting food scene.
By Tara Lee
Source Inside Vancouver