Tag Archives: CinCin

West’s Owen Knowlton Named Sommelier of the Year

Top Table Restaurants Top Wine Festival Awards

West Restaurant wine director Owen Knowlton was named the “2011 Sommelier of the Year” today at the 8th Annual Awards Lunch convened during the 33rd annual Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.

Part of West’s management team since 2005, Owen has worked to build the restaurant’s diverse cellar that now comprises some 700 labels, widely recognized as one of Canada’s finest.

Top Table proprietor Jack Evrensel commented, “I’m very proud of Owen. He has a nuanced palate and deep wine knowledge, but it’s his ability to gently translate both that creates memorable experiences for our guests.”

Owen will also be honoured at the annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards on April 12th.

Wine List Awards

Also announced during the ceremony, were repeated successes for Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin and West when each restaurant was called to the podium in recognition of establishing four of Western Canada’s leading wine programs.

Blue Water Cafe and West were the only two restaurants awarded with the highest Platinum Wine List Award. CinCin and Araxi were each among a distinguished group of seven restaurants to win the Gold and Silver designations, respectively.

A panel of judges reviewed wine list submissions throughout British Columbia and Alberta, evaluating presentation and format, harmony with the menu, balanced varietal and style selections, and vintage depth. Each restaurant’s in-house wine program—comprising staff knowledge, storage, presentation and glassware—was also adjudicated.

“It’s a great feeling when our work is recognized,” said Blue Water Cafe wine director Andrea Vescovi (himself a Sommelier of the Year award recipient in 2009).

“It’s a tribute to my colleagues as individuals,” said Araxi wine director Samantha Rahn, “but also to our continuous collaboration.”

CinCin wine director Sarah McCauley agreed, adding, “These awards are all about the team. We have diverse tastes, and differing menus to match, but we all benefit from working closely together, and we like to think that our guests do too.”

Top Table’s wine libraries are also perennial recipients of the ‘Best of’ Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine.

‘Director’s Blend’ Special Wine Release Coming Soon

Speaking to the power of the Wine Directors’ collaborative, in close partnership with winemaker David Enns of Laughing Stock Vineyards, Top Table will soon present its Director’s Blend wines—available exclusively in each of our restaurants later this Spring.

A number of trips to the Naramata Bench have resulted “in deeply pleasing red and white blends that are true to the Okanagan,” said West wine director Owen Knowlton on behalf of his colleagues. “We have designed these food-friendly wines to be price-friendly too,” he added. “We think they’re terrific.”

Top Table is one of the most highly respected hospitality groups in Canada, encompassing four leading restaurants in Vancouver and Whistler: Araxi, CinCin, Blue Water Cafe and West, as well as the highly anticipated atelier, ‘thierry’ (Spring 2011). Continuing to evolve in the pursuit of excellence, each venue has received significant critical acclaim, both locally and internationally. For more information, visit www.toptable.ca.

CinCin Ristorante Welcomes Tuscany’s Terralsole Winery

Exclusive Winemaker’s Dinner Hosts One of Italy’s Top Brunello Producers

Where: CinCin Ristorante, 1154 Robson Street, Vancouver
When: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011, 6:30PM
Special Guest: Mario Bollag, Terralsole winemaker and proprietor

Through her role as wine director of CinCin Ristorante and frequent trips to Verona’s annual VinItaly Expo, Sarah McCauley has had the opportunity to taste the very best wines that Italy has to offer. Every so often, Sarah finds something truly special—a producer “that really captures my attention,” she says.

From the high slopes of Montalcino, Mario and Athena Bollag’s small production Terralsole Winery has steadily developed into one of Tuscany’s top Brunello producers—its Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004 placed highly in Wine Spectators’ Top 100. Its unique, high altitude terroir and micro-climate promote a singular expression of Sangiovese.

Throughout the evening, Executive Chef Todd Howard will present a special multi-course menu paired with the wines of the Terralsole portfolio, while winemaker and proprietor, Mario Bollag will offer commentary and insight into his remarkable wines, and the label artwork that he creates.


sea urchin arancini + tomato and pomegranate concasse
scallop + cold smoked pancetta
lobster + basil prosecco sorbetto



foie gras and rabbit terrine, agrodolce onions
walnut biscotti and saba gelee

rosso di montalcino doc 2006


quail, apple and pancetta filled raviolo, dried organic olive oil
black grape sauce

pasticcio igt toscana 2005
coldoro igt toscana 2005


veal sweetbreads with perigord truffles, cauliflower puree
bone marrow gremolata

brunello di montalcino docg 2004


venison striploin wrapped in prosciutto with sage polenta
rosemary and onion marmalade, aged balsamic

brunello di montalcino riserva docg 2004


filled with house made ricotta, hazelnuts, chocolate
and candied orange, bitter chocolate ice cream

grappa di brunello riserva


Tickets are $155 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Seating is limited to 24 guests.

Call 604 688 7338 to reserve your place at the table.

Growing Chefs! Raises Over $12,000 at “From Farms to Forks” Gala

Children’s urban agriculture program set to expand to more schools than ever in 2011 

Food Pictures Below!

Growing Chefs!  announces that their sold-out annual fundraising gala From Farms to Forks: A Harvest Kitchen Party raised over $12,000 for their 2011 school program. Hosted at the Dirty Apron Cooking School on Monday night (October 25, 2010), seventy-five food industry movers and shakers, cuisine connoisseurs and supporters of local food enjoyed exquisitely prepared canapés and dishes from Vancouver’s top restaurants and growers.

From Farms to Forks was a food lover’s paradise. The evening started off with passed canapés prepared by Bishop’s, C, The Dirty Apron Cooking School, La Brasserie, La Quercia, Mis Trucos and Refuel. Guests hovered in anticipation over the five tasting stations as chefs from Voya, Cibo, The Pear Tree, The Dirty Apron Cooking School and Culinary Capers roasted, poached, whipped and garnished their signature taste creations. West, Cocolico and CinCin sweetened the evening with their decadent desserts and The Refinery and The Diamond kept the conversation flowing with their refreshing libations.

The CBC’s Margaret Gallagher and Fred Lee hosted the evening and set the stage for an impressive silent auction. Highlights included “Dine out for a Year”—twelve gift certificates for restaurants around Vancouver and “The Canucks Champions Club”, a prize of 4 VIP box seats. Students Tia and Owen accompanied by their teacher Ms. Chantal Larrivee from Queen Elizabeth Annex Elementary, shared their favourite Growing Chefs stories about growing, cooking and eating food in the classroom. 


“We were overjoyed by the support of the local restaurants, growers and food community this year. The success of the Gala is true testament to the fact the local food movement is stronger than ever,” says Helen Stortini, Executive Director of Growing Chefs. “By connecting our city’s talented chefs with elementary school children, we hope to inspire the next generation to appreciate quality food and where it comes from.”

Growing Chefs! is a non-profit society founded in 2005 that teaches kids about food and urban agriculture by sending volunteer chefs into elementary school classrooms. 

From Farms to Forks: A Harvest Kitchen Party was sponsored by The Dirty Apron Cooking School, Clou Design, Artona Group, Mission Hill Winery, R&B Brewery Co., Pederson’s Rentals and Blue Mountain Winery. 

For more information about Growing Chefs! visit: www.growingchefs.ca


Bishop’s and Hazelmere Organic Farm
Sunroot Crisp with Tarragon-scented Sunroot Mousse,
pickled chanterelles, candied bacon, chisel jersey crab apple


C Restaurant and Organic Ocean Seafood
Beet Cured Salmon Gravlax with Dirty Martini Pearls

Chambar and Arila Apiary
Seared Haloumie, honey-toasted brioche, orange confit


La Brasserie and the Lobster Man
Fresh Shucked B.C. Oysters

La Quercia and Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-operative
Beef cheek and kale crespelles
Carrot, shallots, parsnips

Mis Trucos and Mikuni Wild Harvest
Wild Mushroom Ragu, Homemade Brioche, Quails Egg

ReFuel and Thomas Reid Farms
Chicken liver pate,
preserved plum, rye

Tasting Stations

Cibo, Two Rivers Specialty Meats and Notch Hill Organics
Wild Venison Crudo, roasted baby beets, horseradish, black pepper, lemon, crème fraiche

Cuinary Capers Catering and Notch Hill Organics
Smoked Qualicum scallops with hazelnuts and Notch Hill Organics’ carrots

The Dirty Apron Cooking School and Apple Lane Orchard
Apple-smoked Bacon, Duck Roulade, Calvados Poached Apples

The Pear Tree and Helmer’s Organic Farm
Potato and Leek Soup

Voya, Sapo Bravo, and Polderside Farms Inc.
Roasted Chicken Leg, cured ham, peach mustarda, hazelnut jus


West and Stoney Paradise Farms
Poplar Grove Tiger Blue Cheese Galette
thyme-marinated coronation grapes, honey sour cream

Cocolico and Canadian Hazelnut
Selection of Hazelnut Friandises
Milk Chocolate and Roasted Hazelnut Bonbons
Hazelnut Salted Butter Caramels
Hazelnut Sandies with Feuilletine Praline

CinCin and Biota Farm
Chocolate and Caramel Macarons


The Refinery and UBC Farm
Pumpkin Mule

The Diamond and Olera Farms
Frambuesa Floridita

Vancouver Restaurant Awards 2010

From Van Mag….Our panel of 19 experts judged scores of rooms to determine the best restaurants in and around Vancouver. They recognized both established rooms and upstarts that have made a virtue of the new economy

Our panel of 19 experts judged scores of rooms to determine the best restaurants in and around Vancouver. They recognized both established rooms and upstarts that have made a virtue of the new economy

Click on the categories below to read the judges’ comments and see the winners

2010 Winners

Restaurant of the Year Italian Formal Korean North Shore
New Restaurant Italian Casual Thai Whistler
Regional European (Other) Vietnamese Victoria
Seafood Chinese Formal Asian (Other) Vancouver Island
Small Plates Chinese Casual Indian Okanagan
Bar/Lounge Dim Sum Americas Winery/Vineyard Dining
French Formal Japanese Formal Casual Chain Service
French Casual Japanese Casual Steakhouse/Chops Last Course






Special Awards

Chef of the Year  

Lifetime Achievement 



Bartender of the Year 


Premier Crew  

Green Award 



Producer of the Year 


Ingredient of the Year  

Interior Design 



Worth the Drive 


Resort of the Year  

Meet the Judges 



How We Did It 

Top Table Bars Fête Olympic Victors with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte

Podium Athletes Invited to Celebrate at Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin + West

Winning an Olympic medal is no easy feat. The road is long, the sacrifices many, and the support structures that enable athletes to reach the podium are elaborate. But ask an Olympic athlete the key to their success, and the reply is almost always, “My family and friends.”

Araxi in Whistler, and Blue Water Cafe, CinCin, and West in Vancouver, will salute winning athletes during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics by helping them toast family and friends at the restaurants’ bars with a complimentary bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne.

“We want to congratulate the bronze, silver and gold medalists from all countries, and give them the opportunity to toast those closest to them, that took them to the pinnacle of their sport,” said Jack Evrensel, proprietor of Top Table. “Top Table is all about teamwork, and so are the endeavours of Olympic athletes – this is a simple way to show our appreciation.”

Medalists: Reserve in advance through Top Table’s restaurant directors, bring your medal, and the bubbles will begin to flow.

Blue Water Cafe
  4222 Whistler Village Square
1095 Hamilton Street, Yaletown
1154 Robson Street
2881 Granville Street @ 13th
  Steve Edwards, 604 932 4540
Stephan Cachard, 604 688 8078
Ricardo Ferreira, 604 688 7338
Brian Hopkins, 604 738 8938


About Top Table  One of the most highly respected restaurant groups in Canada, Top Table encompasses four of the leading restaurants in Vancouver and Whistler: Araxi, CinCin, Blue Water Cafe and West. Continuing to evolve in the pursuit of excellence, each venue has received significant critical acclaim, both locally and internationally.

Due to demand, all Top Table restaurants will be open for lunch during the Olympics.

About Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte
  Nicolas Feuillatte is the best-selling Champagne brand in France, among the “top 5” internationally and a fixture in the world’s great restaurants. Founded in 1976, this dynamic young house celebrates its unique identity by collaborating with outstanding creative professionals across many disciplines including chefs, designers and artists.