There’s no doubt that the appetite for food and wine events in Edmonton has been growing. In many ways, this is great for consumers who have much more to choose from, though with every passing year, distinguishing one from another has become more challenging. Every so often, however, a unique concept is introduced, and a second look is required. I think the Shaw Conference Centre’s upcoming fundraiser, Hot Chefs, Cool bEATS, is one such event.
What: Hot Chefs, Cool bEATS
When: Saturday, April 21, 2012
Where: Shaw Conference Centre
Cost: $150 (all inclusive)
Mack and I had the opportunity to sit down with Vinomania’s Gurvinder Bhatia recently to talk about the event. He and Shaw Executive Chef Simon Smotkowicz are co-chairing Hot Chefs, where funds raised will support Culinary Team Canada’s quest for gold at the Culinary Olympics in Germany this fall, as well as their High School Culinary Challenge program that supports young talent with apprenticeship opportunities and scholarships for formal training. Their driving vision behind creating Hot Chefs was actually wanting to break the mould of a typical wine-and-dinner event – how far outside of the box could they go?
As it turns out, by leaps and bounds. To start, instead of a traditional cocktail reception, guests will encounter a street festival in the foyer of Hall D. All of the food was inspired by dishes that could be found in street hawker stalls from around the world: The menu includes (all food and drink samples are included in the ticket price):
- pork belly on rice from Filistix
- jerk chicken with pineapple and lime slaw from Drift
- barbeque duck on arepa with fermented slaw from Transcend
- laksa noodles with tofu from Wild Tangerine
- beef tartar from Bistecca
- brisket sliders and duck fat poutine from Culinary Team Canada
- tequila, Mexican beer, wine, St. Germain cocktails
The main event will move inside Hall D, which will be transformed into a culinary tourist’s dream. Gurvinder described a space where guests will not only be able to sample different types of cuisine and liquors, but will be immersed in the sights, sounds and experiences those regions have to offer:
- In “Little India”, Guru will be offering Kathi rolls alongside Indian beer, and Mendhi artists will be on hand for henna art
- In the “Brasserie”, Culinary Team Canada will cook up mussels and fries, croque monsieurs, and offer a selection of cheese to accompany French wines and Alley Kat beers, with French Canadian band Allez Ouest setting the tone
- In “Granville Island”, Culinary Team Canada will be serving oysters two ways (on the half shell and as fried oyster sliders), salmon tacos and fish and chips to be paired with Granville Island beers
- In “Little Japan”, guests will be able to try sake and roll their own sushi with Culinary Team Canada chefs, with Japanese drummers Kita-no-taiko providing entertainment
Elm Cafe, Duchess and Transcend will also be on hand sampling appetizers, macarons and coffee, respectively, and guests can also look forward to an Iron Chef-style competition featuring Culinary Team Canada chefs.
The only sit-down portion of the evening comes at the end, with a plated dessert prepared by Culinary Team Canada’s pastry chef.
In many ways, its disappointing that the vision of Hot Chefs isn’t better articulated on either the poster or the webpage. Given the number of local restaurants involved, and the street festival and culinary tour concept, I think this event is one that food lovers cannot miss – Mack and I picked up our tickets this weekend. Hope to see you there!