All posts by cassandra

Robert Belcham Named Chef of the Year at the 20th Annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards

robert-belcham1Vancouver, BC – Chef Robert Belcham is honoured to be awarded as Chef of the Year at the 20th Annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Co-Owner and Executive Chef of Fuel Restaurant and the recently opened Campagnolo, Chef Belcham now joins the prestigious who’ s who of British Columbia’s most well regarded chefs.

Chef of the Year is one of the most high profile categories awarded by Vancouver Magazine in their coveted annual awards. Credited by the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards judges as producing “some of the best food this city has seen”, Chef Belcham wins high praise from both his peers, the industry and his guests.

Chef Belcham honed his skills at leading restaurants including the French Laundry in the Napa Valley and C Restaurant and Nu in Vancouver before opening properties of his own. With his affinity for local ingredients, he sources only the best whole animals available from free-running BC farms. Belcham has mastered the art of butchery and even created his own charcuterie line called “the Cure”. With his self-styled “nose-to-tail” experience Belcham specializes in creating Whole Hog menus, Suckling Pig dinners and exclusive whole roast items.

“Just being nominated is a real privilege,” he states humbly. “To be recognized amongst your peers and the industry is amazing, although somewhat overwhelming. I feel so lucky to have a team of incredibly talented chefs at Fuel and Campagnolo, and I share this award with them.”

Robert Belcham was also awarded Chef of the Year at the 2009 Urban Diner Restaurant Awards held on April 6, 2009, along with a number of accolades for Fuel Restaurant and Campagnolo. Fuel was awarded Gold for Best Restaurant Formal, Best Regional, Best Kitchen Team, and Best Service Team. Campagnolo was awarded Gold for Best New Casual, and Best Casual Restaurant.

Fuel is open for lunch Monday to Friday from 12:00pm – 2:30pm, and dinner seven nights a week from 5:30pm. Fuel Restaurant is located at 1944 West 4th Avenue (@ Cypress), Vancouver BC. For more information please call 604.288.7905, or visit:

Campagnolo is open for lunch seven days a week from 11:30am – 2:30pm, and dinner nightly from 5pm. Seating is available on a first come first serve basis, and reservations are only available for parties of eight or more. Campagnolo is located at 1020 Main Street, Vancouver, BC. For more information please call 604.484.6018 or visit:


Media Contact:
Tiffany Soper

Vancouver Magazine Announces Winners of 20th Annual Restaurant Awards

Vancouver, BC; April 15, 2009 – Stars of the B.C. restaurant industry gathered yesterday at the Sheraton Wall Centre for the 20th Annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. The audience of more than 80o included the city’s top chefs, sommeliers and food critics. The event was capped by Cioppino’s/Enoteca winning the event’s top honor, Restaurant of the Year.

“There were some surprises this year,” said Vancouver magazine editor-in-chief Gary Stephen Ross, “which shows that the culinary scene is vital and ever-changing. Even in tough economic times, rooms that get it right quickly become popular with the dining public—and draw the attention of our 19 judges.”

To mark the 20th anniversary of this event, special recognition was given to those who have made a lasting impression on the industry. For his role in making Vancouver a leading culinary destination, the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Hidekazu Tojo – owner of the legendary Tojo’s. In addition to being given this honour, Tojo’s also won Best Formal Japanese for the 18th consecutive year. Other honourees included Fuel’s Robert Belcham who was awarded Chef of the Year and Robert Clark of C who was given the Green Award.

Other highlights included La Quercia winning Best New Restaurant and Best Casual Italian after its first year in business. Industry legends, Vikram Vij of Vij’s and Michel Jacob of Le Crocodile also won in their respective categories. Vij’s has won Best Indian since the category was created 13 years ago and Le Crocodile has also been a consistent winner having won Best Formal French eight times.

Several categories saw some surprises. For best dining in Whistler, Bearfoot Bistro won the top honour beating nine time winner Araxi. Cru was given the Gold Award in the Best Small Plates category, while five time winner Bin 941/942 took Silver.

About Vancouver:

Since 1967, Vancouver has been informing, guiding, and entertaining people who engage with the city. Mixing quality journalism and service-driven pieces, the magazine chronicles and reflects Vancouver’s emergence as a dynamic, cosmopolitan urban centre. Vancouver is available as a monthly magazine, through a weekly e-newsletter, The Fix and online at


For more information please contact: Elettra Communications
Candice Pedersen

Cabana awarde silver in Best OK at Van Mag Awards

Cabana Bar and Grille was awarded second place in the Best Okanagan Restaurant category in the prestigious Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards yesterday. Just shy of its first year in business, Cabana Grille proves to be a key player in this growing culinary destination.”We are absolutely thrilled!” says co-owner and operating partner Jay Blackford. “Vancouver’s food media and restaurant industry professionals are an important and influential group. Recognition at this level means a lot to Cabana and our staff, customers, suppliers and local producers.”
Cabana Grille opened its doors in June 2008 to a bustling summer crowd – with a full patio, lounge and dining room that together seat 300 guests. With a mandate of “globally-inspired and locally created” Cabana Grille presents both sophisticated flavours and family-friendly fare that are healthy, fresh and focused on the incredible array and quality of local ingredients available nearby.

“We are proud to bring the best of the Okanagan’s fresh ingredients to Kelowna’s locals and visitors,” says Executive Chef and co-owner Ned Bell. “The Okanagan is a vibrant region with many opportunities to support talented and passionate culinary businesses from Osoyoos to Vernon that combine to create unparalleled dining experiences for our customers. From farmers to winemakers to producers of artisanal products there is so much to celebrate and we thank Vancouver Magazine for recognizing our efforts.”

Cabana Grille is gearing up for a busy Okanagan summer and is kicking things off with some exciting events including a Brewmasters’ Gourmet Dinner with Tree Brewing Company on April 29, Terasen Gas’ signature Spring Okanagan Wine Festival Gala – Gourmet and Grapes on May 3 – featuring an Iron Chef style showdown between Ned Bell and celebrity chef David Hawksworth, and the launch of a brand new spring menu on Monday, May 11.

With a premier position on Lakeshore Road just steps from stunning Okanagan Lake, Cabana Grille is a globally inspired, locally created upscale eatery owned and operated by three local restaurateurs, Jay Blackford, Michael Borg and Ned Bell. The restaurant blends a casual, relaxed atmosphere with exceptional food and drink led by Executive Chef Ned Bell who honed his culinary prowess at renowned restaurants across Canada including Lumiere, Accolade, Senses, Murrieta’s, Redwater Grille and Vintage Steakhouse. Bell was a regular on Food Network Canada’s “Cook Like a Chef” and currently films “It’s Just Food” for CTV. Focusing on fresh, local produce cooked in innovative ways for a wide range of tastes and budgets, Cabana Grille is well on its way to becoming a local favourite and buzz-worthy hot spot.

3799 Lakeshore Road
Kelowna, BC V1W 3K5
Tel: 250.763.1955

May 30 – Jazz in the park

A JAZZ cocktail party like no other!

Don’t miss this year’s biggest line up of “Red Hot Jazz Cats” performing across our indoor and outdoor stages presented by Scotiabank – Saturday night June 7th at the Stanley Park Pavilion. This very cool evening of partying will have you moving on the dance floor at the main bandstand with our classic swing dancers or shopping at our famous auctions in support of adoption. Experience chilling in the Bourbon Street Lounge, getting your future read in Black Magic Avenue or exploring the array of entertainment in the outdoor Garden Boulevard stage under the stars. New this year will be the “Red Hot Martini Lounge” where the unforgettable Delilah’s Restaurant will be serving up martini tastings all night. Back by popular demand is the Vancouver Fire Fighters “Fire in the Kitchen” live auction package exclusive to this event, Air Canada’s Trip for 2 Raffle and many more extraordinary surprises.

Hosted by: Senator Larry Campbell – Global TV’s Catherine Pope – CBC and Vancouver Courier’s Man about Town – Fred Lee

See you at Vancouver’s Hottest Jazz Fundraising Party!

Get your tickets today! Tickets selling fast.
Check out the pictures from last year and video on Facebook.

April 15 +

This week on The Good Life we cover DB Moderne Bistro, talk with DB’s head barkeep, Cameron Bogue and look at all that’s good this week.
Saturday April 18 – Bike the Blossoms
April 13-26 Flavours of Spring at Joe Fortes
Taste of BC menu at Lumiere
April 15th to May 2nd Capones Wine and Jazz Festival


Restaurant Pick – DB Moderne Bistro

Chef Daniel Boulud teamed up with restaurant owners Manjy and David Sidoo to bring the New York DB Moderne Bistro theme to Vancouver. In the location that once housed Feenie’s. Chef Stephane Istel runs the day to day operations in the kitchen, as Chef Boulud overseas his worldwide restaurant empire. The food here French bistro style, with respect to local ingredients. I’ve not been disappointed yet. Highlights include roasted sablefish with a flavourful herb crust, accompanied by a sweet pepper stew, and the Berkshire pork duo of tenderloin and crispy belly served with horseradish coleslaw and bacon jus. They’re also famous for the original DB burger. Boulud’s signature creation is prime sirloin meat, braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffle on a parmesan bun with pomme frites. Service is attentive and don’t miss bar star Cameron Bogue’s signature cocktails.

More at:

Drink of the week from DB’s Head Bartender Cameron Bogue


Saturday April 18 – Bike the Blossoms

The inaugural Bike the Blossoms, held on April 19th, 2008, saw over 1,000 participants in this unique food-focused cycling tour in the heart of Vancouver, where farmers came in from the Metro Vancouver area and the Fraser Valley to showcase their food and artisanal products. Come visit and support farmers who are not normally part of the city’s farmers markets.
This self-guided tour is fun for the whole family! Enjoy a leisurely ride along boulevards of spring cherry blossoms, traveling through a diversity of neighbourhoods from the eastside to the westside, stopping at local community centres to meet local farmers, to sample local foods and refuel at slow food designated eateries, restaurants and cafes along the way.
This year Slow Food Vancouver in partnership with The Commercial Drive Business Society, has created the Slow Taste of the Drive. As part of our aim to increase the food element and the level of engagement between local farmers and city folk, we have invited selected eateries & restaurants on Commercial Drive to offer a Slow Taste. So, after visiting the farmers at Britannia Community Centre, take a stroll along “the Drive”. Find the slow food snail in the windows of participating eateries and enjoy their slow taste creations. Eateries and restaurants will offer one (or more) of their current food items (or create one specific for the event) to be designated a Slow Taste. The intent is that their Slow Taste will embody and represent Slow Food which is good, clean and fair. Slow Tastes will feature ingredients: that are organic, local and fresh; or from our food partner BOSA Fine Foods; or from participating farmers in Bike the Blossoms. Go to featured links for more information!
Date: Saturday, April 18th . . . rain or shine . . . it sprinkled a little snow the night before last year’s event and everyone still had a wonderful time!
Time: 10am – 4pm (arrive and leave when you want)
Place: OFFICIAL START – VanDusen Botanical Gardens (37th Avenue and Oak Street). Additional start locations are: Kitsilano Community Centre
2690 Larch Street (between 10th and 12th Avenue) and Britannia Community Centre 1661 Napier Street (at Commercial Drive).
Cycle Tour Distance: ~ 23 km circular route and fairly easy
Cost: $10.00 per person (children 12 and under are free) Participants are required to register.
A free Bicycle Valet Service will be available at Britannia and Kitsilano Community Centres to allow you to visit with the farmers and to enjoy the Slow Taste of the Drive.

April 13-26 Flavours of Spring at Joe Fortes

While a Vancouver Spring sometimes feels like it begins just after Christmas, for the kitchen, it is only now starting. But like the crocuses, our Flavours of Spring menus vanish as quickly as they arrive.

Table d’hôte menu:
•Salt Spring Island mussels & frites – $13.95
•Marinated local sturgeon – $25.95
•Rhubarb & strawberry pie – $8.

Paired with just the right wine companions. See the full spring menu here.

Taste of BC menu at Lumiere

Chef Dale Mackay is pleased to invite you to sample the Taste of BC menu. Lumière and Mission Hill Wines have collaborated to bring you this exceptional spring offer. Nightly from 5:30pm until 7:00pm this $55 three course dinner focusing on local ingredients cannot be missed!
To make a reservation please call (604) 739 8185

April 15th to May 2nd Capones Wine and Jazz Festival

The 1st Annual Wine & Jazz Festival of Vancouver, showcases food & wines from 5 different regions. We will offer for each region an incredible 4 course dinner menu + a flight of wine. Reservations are recommended and can be made on the Capone’s website.

Thursday April 16 Meet Hennessy’s Cyrill Gautier Auriol at the Cambie BCLDB

Take advantage of this rare and exciting opportunity! Meet Cyrille Gautier Auriol, the global trade representative for the Hennessy house of Cognac, and taste a flight of the ultra-premium spirit as you learn more about this refined brand.

Thursday, April 16th, 7:00 – 8:00 PM
39th & Cambie Signature BC Liquor Store (5555 Cambie Street, Vancouver)
Please RSVP to Roberto Garcia ( by Tuesday, April 14
** Seating is extremely limited **
Tasting will feature Hennessy VS, Hennessy VSOP, Hennessy XO

Mr. Gautier Auriol was born and raised in Cognac, France, and has represented Hennessy for nine years. He has a passion for sharing the history and pleasure of tasting Cognac with people around the world.

April 21 – Naramata Wineries Spring Release

Five wineries have come together this year and brought their top wine components to create what will be an annual event of “tasting and sharing knowledge” to produce an exceptional wine that expresses ‘The Taste of the Terroir of the Naramata Bench.’ This year a Bordeaux blend was produced and is composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. The wines are from Hillside Estate Winery, La Frenz Winery, Lake Breeze Vineyards, Laughing Stock Vineyards and Soaring Eagle Winery.
In Vancouver, the restaurants serving food pairings with the spring release wines are Miku, Vij’s, Goldfish, Wild Rice, Pair Bistro, and So.cial at Le Magasin, and from the Bench – the Naramata Heritage Inn and Hillside Winery Barrel Room Bistro. In Victoria, the pairings will be prepared by Chef Brad Horen at the luxurious Inn at Laurel Point. (list of wines for both events attached
The Naramata Bench Spring Release events are more than just tastings. They are your only chance to pick up a 3L magnum of the Naramata Bench Red Blend as well as the only place to get a coveted “Best of the Bench” case of wine. In addition to these exclusives, the Spring Release events boast a plethora of auction items including: stays in Naramata at several winery accommodations, behind the scenes and meet the winemaker opportunities, a cooking class with Vij’s for 10 at Laughing Stock Winery complete with a personalized tour, sailing on Okanagan Lake, Okanagan art (including NBWA’s infamous Spring Release posters) and more.
The Vancouver NBWA Spring Release event will be held at the Roundhouse from 6:30 to 9:00 PM and the Victoria Spring Release event is from 6:00-8:30 PM at the Inn at Laurel Point. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 1-800-663-1900. The Naramata Bench Spring Release Events are sponsored by Kettle Ridge Estates (

Easter Ham


This is a great recipe for an amazing ham. Thank god there’s no pineapple!
1 (10 lb) ham
2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey
3 tablespoons grainy dijon mustard
4 tablespoons orange juice

Place ham, skin side up, in a roasting pan and bake covered in foil at 325 degrees for 20 minutes per pound. For 10 lbs you’ll need 3 1/2 hours.
Remove ham from the oven. Score fat in diamond shapes. Stick cloves on the ham. Combine honey, mustard, sugar and orange juice and spread over the ham.
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes more, basting occasionally with the glaze.

Seattle – Culinary Tidbits

I first fell for Seattle after watching the movie ‘Singles’ in my University days. I was charmed by the characters, and wanted to know more about the city where grunge and coffee culture ruled.  I’d go down to catch a band or shop, but recently my visits have begun to focus more on the culinary scene that Seattle is now known for.   While entire books have been devoted to the subject, I merely offer up a few suggestions for interested foodies on their next trip down.

To Tour

Pike Place Market is a pleasant stroll from your hotel and is full of everything fresh from fish to flowers.  Don’t miss the show the fish monger puts on, or a chance to enjoy a drink and the view from many of the markets restaurants.

Chocolate fans can head to the Chocolate Box near Pike Place market for the “Tour de Chocolat”.  Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 8:30 am the 3 hour tour visits local chocolate shops.  $59 gets you a goodie bag to take home and chocolate samples at each stop. or

Gray Line of Seattle culinary tours offers eight culinary tours this summer.  Meet at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and join a chef from a Seattle hotspot.  Head to the market to pick up that day’s fresh ingredients and then back to the chef’s restaurant for a cooking demonstration and tasting. Participating restaurants include Crush, El Gaucho and Sky City at the Space Needle.  Try to catch Chef Jason Wilson of Crush on July 13 and 27, or August 24 and 31.  The tour is lasts four hours for US$100 a person and begin at 1 p.m. To book, call 800-426-7532 or visit

Learn all about Washington Wines with a Washington Wine Cruise offered by Holland America and AAA Washington.  Attend seminars, lectures, tastings and dinners with chefs and winemakers from Washington’s best wineries.  Spring 2009 dates will soon be posted at

To Eat

Brunch – Veil – On Saturdays and Sundays locals head to the Queen Edward Hotel for the city’s best brunch at Veil.  Old favourites and fresh takes on standards. Start with a glass of meadow (champagne with lavender infused honey) and try the Belgian style waffles with banana and nutella, or the duck confit hash.  Those in a lunch mood might want the mini lamb burgers or the mac and cheese. – NOW CLOSED – WATCH FOR UPDATE

Lunch – Salumi – Open Tuesdays from 11-4 pm this is home to the original Mr. Batali (Mario’s father Amandino).  Charcuterie, sandwiches, pastas and soups drawn lines from the minute the place opens. Take home cured meats to enjoy later.

Dinner – Tilth – Chef Maria Hines uses fresh, seasonal and local ingredients to create the divine dishes at newcomer Tilth.  In a quaint and charming house with superb service you’ll enjoy one of the freshest meals in town.  Absolutely delicious.  Menu changes seasonally, but if the tuna with avocado and wasabi mayo is on the menu don’t miss it.

Tulio – You’ll find contemporary Italian food at this delightful spot in the Hotel Vintage Park.  The three beet salad, grilled calamari with lavender sausage and the Dungeness crab tortelli are superb.  If Tonia is on hand to serve, make sure she is yours.

Drinks – Vessel – Ex-Vancouverite Jamie Boudreau is the genius behind the cocktail menu at this downtown hotspot.  A gorgeous room and small plates round out the experience.  UPDATE – Jamie is now at Tini Bigs

Bottleneck – This casual neighbourhood spot is a great place to grab a beer and a panini or a plate of nachos.  Servers are genuine.  Ask for Erin.

Special Events

Taste of Washington – Each year hundreds of wineries and dozens of restaurants get together for this grand tasting.  March 31, April 1 2012. (Spokane June)

Woodinville Wine Country Wine Notes – On July 26 and 27 music, top Woodinville wineries and regional restaurants come together for a 2 day festival of taste. Held in King County at Marymoor Park.

May 3 – La Quercia and Tyler Dawson do Veneto

La Quercia Restaurant and Liberty Wine Merchant’s Tyler Dawson will host an evening of food and wine featuring flavours paired with wines from the Veneto Region of Italy. With the sea port of Venice as the capital, a 6 course menu of dishes from this vast Italian region will showcase Chef Adam Pegg and Lucais Syme’s talents and will come with educational commentary from Tyler Dawson. Described as the foremost wine producing region in Italy, both in quality and quantity, look out for some rare bottles and tough to find gems. With a bounty of seafood available in this region as well as some interesting seasonal vegetables, a true taste of Veneto will be enjoyed.
“We truly love the opportunity to bring food and people together for an intimate meal where we can interact with the guests and teach them something about the region,” says Adam Pegg, of La Quercia. “The Veneto region affords plenty of seafood as well as some interesting opportunities for risotto creations. We are excited to start the preparations for the upcoming evening.”
Tyler Dawson (Liberty Wine Merchants) has paired rare bottles exclusively for the evening. With his wealth of information on this region, guests will leave with their palates pleased and their wine education stoked. Tyler will provide his animated commentary on the wine selections and the various courses will be communicated by the chefs.
Reservations are necessary for this event. Please call 604.676.1007 to ensure your space. Or in person at 3689 West 4th Ave. (at Alma). Tickets are $119 per person.

La Quercia opened in mid July, is a Trattoria Style Italian Restaurant led by Adam Pegg and Lucais Syme. With over 20 years of experience between them in both local and international restaurants, their restaurant treats Vancouverites to Italian cuisine they’d be hard pressed to find this side of the Atlantic. With Italian native Karin Lazzaris, front of house, servers are well versed in the subtleties of the ingredients, and the mostly-Italian wine list-created has been created by Tyler Dawson. The menu is a combination of traditional and contemporary food presented in a simple, straightforward manner. An always changing, seasonal menu features a daily fresh sheet to keep guests coming back for more. With a collection of 3 starters, 3 pastas and 3 mains, sharing is encouraged. Pasta is served up family style for 2 or more. In addition, guests can opt for the chef’s menu, or select risotto made-to-order for a minimum of 2 people.

Tyler Dawson, or ‘Ty the Wine Guy’ is well known for his beverage acumen and wine related experience. He boasts twenty-plus years of industry experience, including a few years as Cellarman at Umberto’s Al Porto, and seventeen-plus years in his current role as buyer and manager for fine wine retailer, Liberty Wine Merchants.

Andrea Scott


Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks


If you are looking for a cookbook, this is the place. Books to Cooks also hosts cooking classes and informative discussions on all things of a culinary nature. The staff is wonderful and Barbara-Jo herself is a wealth of knowledge.

1740 West 2nd Avenue (half a block east of Burrard)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6J 1H6
Telephone 604-688-6755 Fax 604-688-6759

Outside of Vancouver? Call 1-866-688-6744