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Epicurious

B.C.'s best in our own backyard

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The executive chef at Whistler's Westin Resort and Spa, Jeffrey Young, has been tapped as the province's top chef during the 10th annual Chef of the Year competition.

The event was held hast month at the B.C. Food Service Expo, where competing chefs went head-to-head in live, on-stage cooking competitions to demonstrate their abilities in a "black box" challenge. Competitors were given mystery ingredients and just 30 minutes to prepare and present their plates - one for taste, and one for presentation - which are then judged by a panel of members from B.C.'s culinary industry. It was Chef Young's creation of an apricot and orange glazed pheasant breast that earned him top honours.

"I love the testing of one's own creativity when under the gun," Young said in a recent press release. "It is what opens the doors to what you can really do when pushed to the limit and with competitions like this one, it really shows what one is made of, especially with only a 30 minute window to create something!"

In March, he will defend the provincial title at a regional competition, and in May will compete for the title of Chef of the Year for Canada.

Chef Young recently helped bring home gold at the XXVII Culinary Olympics, as a member of Team British Columbia, and over the span of a 19-year career, has amassed a collection of 20 culinary awards.


Local hall of famer
British Columbia boasts some outstanding culinary offerings, with exceptional quality, variety, service and value on the menu. To recognize the efforts and accomplishments of some members of the industry, the B.C. Restaurant Hall of Fame was founded just four years ago. And this year, a Whistler restaurateur is being honoured for his accomplishments.

David Aisenstat, owner of Hy's Whistler Steakhouse as well as The Keg chain of restaurants, is one of two inductees in the Active Restaurateur category.

The other inductee in the Active Restaurateur category this year is Geoffrey Howes of the Salmon House in West Vancouver, Aqua Riva and Horizons. Years ago Howes was the owner/operator of the Black Bear Restaurant near the Alice Lake turnoff on Highway 99.

Other Whistler nominees in the Active Restaurateur category this year were Mario Enero of La Rúa and Antonio and Patrick Corsi of Quattro at Whistler and Quattro on Fourth.

Nominated this year in the Back of House category was Araxi chef James Walt.

The inductees will be recognized at a black tie gala event on Monday, March 30 at the new Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre.


Dine Out For Life
Looking for an excuse to eat out, sans financial guilt? Take part in Dining Out For Life, a fundraiser for two AIDS-related organizations: Friends For Life, a wellness centre that offers support to those living with the life-threatening illness, and their families and caregivers; and A Loving Spoonful, which provides free meals to men, women and children of the Greater Vancouver area living with HIV/AIDS.

On Thursday, March 12, over 200 restaurants from the Lower Mainland and surrounding regions will donate 25 per cent of revenue from meals sold that day. Sumac Ridge Estate Winery and Stella Artois are also stepping up, donating portions of sales to the cause.

The Sea to Sky restaurants participating in this year's event include Après Restaurant, The Brewpub, Christine's on Blackcomb, Ciao Thyme Bistro, Crepe Montagne, Elements Urban Tapas Parlour, Hy's Steakhouse, Kypriaki Norte, The Mountain Club, Nicklaus North Golf Course, Player's Chophouse, Splitz Grill and The Wine Room. For more information on the event, visit http://www.diningoutforlife.com/Vancouver.


F&B 911
Running a restaurant isn't an easy job, and during these trying financial times, the task certainly isn't made simpler. So, one local organization has stepped up to offer member restaurants a new service to help them deal with any issues that may arise as part of business.

The British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association has just launched the Restaurant Resource Line, a new 24-hour toll-free phone line to provide solutions to a number of restaurant-related inquiries, like municipal bylaws and licensing issues, or repair contacts.

"Operators are looking to ensure that their restaurants are running efficiently and making a profit. In order to accomplish this it requires them to be in their place of business, not spending hours on the phone or computer trying to find suppliers, and researching the latest updates to a municipal bylaw," Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BCRFA said in a recent press release.

"This is where the Resource Line benefits members. Businesses contact us and find a solution with just one quick phone call. We believe this is the first service of its kind in North America."

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