The Greatest Meal Ever Served In Vancouver

The Senza Frontiere dinner (“Without Borders”) went down last night and it was a meal and an evening like few others I’d ever experienced. It’s not every shift that a dozen of our best chefs come together to prepare a feast, but they most certainly did. They gathered at Cioppino’s in Yaletown to put on an incomparable show for 90+ lucky guests who’d parted with precious ducats in support of the Chef’s Table Society of BC.

The line up of chefs: David Hawksworth (Hawksworth at the Hotel Georgia); Vikram Vij (Vij’s & Rangoli); Mary Mackay (Terra Breads); Thomas Haas (Thoma Haas Fine Chocolates); Rob Feenie (The Cactus Club); Hidekazu Tojo (Tojo’s); Michel Jacob (Le Crocodile); Rob Clark (C Restaurant); Nico Schuermans (Chambar); Dale Mackay and Daniel Boulud (Lumiere & DB Bistro Moderne); Scott Jaeger (The Pear Tree); and our host, Pino Posteraro (Cioppino’s).

To have that much talent working together in the same room for the same good cause – the support of emerging chefs – is a genuine testament to how much Vancouver has matured as a food town in a very short time (not to mention a logistical feat comparable to landing a herd of gazelles on the moon and returning them to the Serengeti none the worse for wear). Competition among them was of the jocular and celebratory kind, and ego was completely absent (not even a whiff of the stuff). A big thank you to all of the participating chefs for the inspired night, and especially to Pino, Celestino, Massimo, Christiano, and their staff for hosting what will likely go down as the top Vancouver food event of 2009 (and just 12 days in). Seriously, how could a single restaurant top this?

It was a meal I won’t soon forget, but since the wine pairings and I were especially big buddies last night and the after-party at Republic took a predictably bruising toll, I slapped together a little home movie (above) and Michelle and I both took plenty of shots (below) so as to guarantee the memories weren’t lost in violent 3am stagger down Granville. The menu – oh, the menu – can be read in full at the bottom.

The Menu

Daniel Boulud, Lumiere and DB Bistro Moderne

Alsatian Tarte Flambe’ of caramelized onions, cheese and pancetta

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Vikram Vij, Vij’s and Rangoli

Coriander and Chilly marinated Mutton served with Chutney
Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Nonvintage
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Naturally Fermented Bread from Mary Mackay’s Terra Breads

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1st Course- Hidekazu Tojo, Tojo’s
Tojo’s Pacific dungeness crab cake, white fish and yam potato mousse, panko crust, yuzu, apple and mango sauce
Riesling Schlossberg 2006 Weinbach, Alsace
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2nd Course – Michel Jacob, Le Crocodile
Terrine of duck foie gras served with ice wine gelee and toasted brioche
Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2003 Sauternes
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3rd Course: Dino Renaerts, Diva at the Met
Chicken Consommé with Madeira, winter mushrooms & herb dumpling
Gewurztraminer Cuvee’ Theo 2006 Weinbach, Alsace
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4th Course: Robert Feenie, Cactus Club Café
Butternut Squash and Mascarpone ravioli, seared Qualicum bay scallops, truffle and lemon butter, shaved black truffles
Bourgogne Blanc 1999 Leroy, Burgundy
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5th Course: Robert Clark, C Restaurant
Baked British Columbia Sablefish preserved summer tomatoes, “Frank and Steve’s” spot prawn bisque
Riesling Jubilee 2004 Hugel, Alsace
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6th Course: Scott Jaeger, The Peartree
Butter braised “Campbell’s Pheasant” with confit eggplant and braised onion heart
Bourgogne Rouge 2001 Leroy, Burgundy
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7th Course: Daniel Boulud, Lumiere and DB Bistro
Trilogy of Milk Fed Veal: Crispy Head and Cheeks with Sauce Gribiche, Stuffed Endive with Smoked Tongue, Sweetbread with Salsify and Chanterelles
Chateau Cheval Blanc 1996 Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru, Bordeaux
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8th Course: David Hawksworth
Double Smoked Bacon Wrapped Squab, Tarte Fine of Wild Mushrooms and Golden Sultana Puree
Saint Joseph Les Granits Rouge Organic 2003 Chapoutier, Rhone
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9th Course: Nico Schuermans
Sumac rubbed lamb sirloin, smoked eggplant caviar, Israeli cous- cous, Tabouleh
Chateau La Louviere 2000 Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux
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Desserts: Thomas Haas, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates
Passion fruit meringue,crispy coconut wafers and exotic fruits
Course:Warm chocolate cake, caramel-fleur de sel macaron, almond ice cream
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2003 Perrin, Rhone

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Andrew Morrison is a west coast boy who studied history and classics at the Universities of Cape Town and Toronto after an adolescence spent riding skateboards and working in restaurants. He is the editor of Scout Magazine, the weekly food and restaurant columnist for the Westender newspaper, a contributor to Vancouver and Western Living magazines, and a proud board member of the Chef’s Table Society of BC. He lives and works by the beach in Vancouver.

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There are 12 comments

  1. Wow!

    I’m honoured that 2 of my wines were served at dinner – looks like it was a super spread.

    Which chef got his/her groove on the best at the afterparty?

  2. I’m not sure. Blue Water Cafe was having their staff party there as well plus there were plenty of other industry peeps in attendance. I just remember it being blurry and loud.

  3. I hate to be the one to be the party pooper as it looks like an incredible event….but….”Without Borders” seems to me to be a poor choice of name. Trying to equate a luxurious dinner helping a few cooks with medical staff working in war-torn areas isn’t on. Though this dinner could be loosely deemed to be a charitable event it hardly compares with the real “Without Borders” charities whereby people travel acros the world risking life and limb helping the truly destitute…

  4. Er…

    The title “Senza Frontiere” was in no way chosen to evoke “Medicines Sans Frontieres”, the international NGO whose good works eclipse the best efforts of any chef. The theme of the dinner was Mediterranean French, and with so many cooks working away from their own kitchens we thought the name “Without Borders” to be particularly – and doubly – apt. Suggesting that we were “trying to equate” the dinner with the courage of doctors is a gratuitous leap of misunderstanding. 🙂

  5. Point taken…but a “gratuitous leap of misunderstanding”? Senza Frontiere, Sans Frontieres, Without Borders…and add to that the charitable aspect. you’re right…nothing similar there whatsoever…

  6. Sure there is the similarity, but “gratuitous leap” was a reference to the method of equation and the statement that the results weren’t “on” (by “misunderstanding” I meant that in the process of said leap, you had misunderstood). It’s all good, though. It was a great event. You would have dug it.

  7. Thank You for posting such a great video with so many familiar faces from all those years ago in Vancouver, I guess you just passed the best meal ever served in Vancouver, a Chateau Yquem/White Truffle dinner($1000p.p)same old gang Side cross etc.at The Four Seasons back in the 90’s.Vancouver always has been, still is and will always be the best Food city in the World and the Chefs aren’t too bad either.
    Aloha from the Big rock in the Pacific
    GQ