A Frozen BC Blueberries Bonanza—and a Big Win for The Oakwood!

Mike Robbins blueberries and ricotta perogies carried the day

Chef Mike Robbins’ visually stunning—and delicious—savoury blueberry perogies and pork belly carried the day for the Oakwood Canadian Bistro

I didn’t have to think twice before accepting an invitation to commit the best part of a day to judging the first annual Frozen BC Blueberries Chefs’ Invitational. After all, for a guy who’s been known on occasion to be a tad careless about taking his vitamin C, what could be better than an antioxidant laden romp around seven Vancouver restos, whose chefs were anxious to show off their blueberry prowess.

Fairmont Pacific Rim executive chef Darren Brown: in the heat of the action at Oru

Fairmont Pacific Rim executive chef Darren Brown: in the heat of the action

... And Oru's understated but edgy paté brisée with poached leek and salsify white chocolate purée

… And the end result: Oru’s understated but edgy paté brisée with poached leek and salsify white chocolate purée, with blueberry compote

Besides, competitions appeal to me. Yes, it sounds hackneyed. But they really do bring out the best in people. Plus, the great reward is that the judges walk away with a snapshot reminder of just how varied and vibrant a food scene we in Vancouver enjoy—and all too often take for granted.

In a culinary world driven by so strong a regional / seasonal mantra, there’s always incentive to offer local ingredients year round, which makes frozen BC blueberries ideal, as all of these entries proved.

A dazzling presentation from Four Seasons' Yew

Chef Sean Murray’s dazzling presentation of pork belly and scallop on blueberries, with watercress, paired with a superb Long Table gin and Pinot Noir cocktail – Yew at Four Seasons

The contrasting kitchens yielded plenty to appreciate on the palate. But most of all they served up a smorgasbord of creativity and skill—all in the name of the humble (but increasingly celebrated) BC blueberry.

Calabash's Bluetit El Dorado cocktail with star anise, blueberry juice and blueberry dust was an unexpected bonus

Calabash’s Blue-tit El Dorado cocktail, with star anise, blueberry juice and blueberry dust, was an unexpected bonus…

—and a great match with duck confit and blueberry tamarind glaze, and jerk pork belly!

—and a great match with chef Cullin David’s duck confit and blueberry tamarind glaze, and jerk pork belly! It’s on the menu for a couple more weeks.

What’s behind the event?

From the release:

“The Frozen BC Blueberry Chefs’ Invitational was held in support of Vancouver-based school program Project CHEF, as they kicked off another school year of teaching children about healthy food with a donated supply of BC Blueberries from local growers, plus a $500 grant to help facilitate the in-class program. Being an abundant and tasty local ingredient packed with antioxidants, frozen BC blueberries fit perfectly into the curriculum. The competition was also created to boost the profile of the delicious and nutritious frozen superfood with local chefs to keep local berries top of mind year round.”

Newcomer Seventeen89 came up with a tasty steam pudding and ginger variation—with blueberries, of course

At newcomer Seventeen89, Chef Daryle Reo Nagata came up with a tasty steam pudding and ginger variation—with blueberries, of course. A regular dessert menu item.

Each of the chefs received 30 lbs of frozen BC blueberries to help them develop their recipe—and they all commented on the quality of the berries, which were truly flavourful and intact.

Another standout: Wild Rice's scallop with duck confit, blueberry pot stickers and blueberry Szechuan jus

Another standout: Wild Rice chef Todd Bright’s scallop with duck confit, blueberry pot stickers and blueberry Szechuan jus

Hearty congrats to Mike Robbins of  The Oakwood Canadian Bistro for his intricately assembled and gorgeously presented blueberry perogies with blueberry gel and buttermilk sour cream. (top) He gets to enjoy a “Frozen in Whistler” Four Seasons weekend getaway—as well as to everyone else who took considerable time and energy to enter.

Fable Kitchen's classic Linzer crust blueberry lavender tart

Fable Kitchen chef Trevor Bird’s classic Linzer crust blueberry lavender tart

And yes, everything truly was was as tasty as it looks …

Kudos to all:

Chef Cullin David of Calabash Bistro, Chef Todd Bright of Wild Rice, Chef Sean Murray of YEW seafood + bar, Chef Trevor Bird of Fable Kitchen, Chef Daryle Ryo Nagata of the new Seventeen89 Restaurant & Lounge, Chef Darren Brown of Oru and Chef Mike Robbins of The Oakwood Canadian Bistro.

 

 

 

 

 

By | 2018-01-21T15:05:23+00:00 November 1st, 2013|Belly's Best Bites|0 Comments

About the Author:

Tim has been covering the food and wine revolution for about 20 kilos. Count 15 kg alone thanks to the blossoming cuisine and wine culture of British Columbia, Canada. Tim’s hallmark is seeking out and recommending value wines from BC and around the world that offer quality at every level. He also scopes out noteworthy restaurants that live up to their promises—and often over deliver. Readers depend on the Hired Belly for his “Belly’s Best” and “Belly’s Budget Best” picks to help them find the right wine for the occasion. He writes, tweets and shoots his own images for columns in the Vancouver Courier and North Shore News. He also contributes to WHERE Vancouver magazine, as well as to several other publications. They include Taste magazine, Tidings Magazine, and Montecristo. His columns are frequently picked up by major newspapers across Canada. Tim is a frequent judge for wine competitions, such as Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards. He is a founding judge of The BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine. He is frequently invited to judge at The BC Wine Awards, and others. Tim has traveled to taste in many of the world’s leading wine regions, most recently in Burgundy, Argentina and Chile.

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