Tag Archives: Vancouver Magazine

What’s Good This Week – February 22

What to do in and around Vancouver this week?

It’s been a busy couple weeks. We just got through another year of Vancouver International Wine Festival and were thoroughly impressed with the wines and the people we met behind them! Now we are onto the last week in February and I seriously can’t believe how fast the year is going.

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Best of the City – February 24 7-9 pm

I’ll be here with Les Dames d’Escoffier as we are raffling off a wall of wine! Please buy a ticket or five to support our initiatives if you are there! Vancouver magazine’s Best of the City event (formerly “Big Night”) includes Vancouver’s best chefs—Maenam’s Chef Angus An, CinCin’s Andrew Richardson, Blue Water Cafe’s Frank Pabst and many more! Taste our way through 10 amazing dishes, each paired with an award-winning wine or beer.

Where: Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, 1180 W. Hastings St.
Cost: $125 Tickets: Eventbrite

bc home and garden show vancouver 2017

BC Home + Garden Show, February 23-26 at BC Place Stadium

With Canada’s favourite home and landscaping specialists including HGTV Canada’s Bryan Baeumler, Carson Arthur, Mike Holmes Jr., and Tiffany Pratt, live cooking demos from Vancouver’s culinary masters, and more than 425 exhibitors and features designed to whip any home and garden into shape, there’s innovation, inspiration and expert advice at every turn. Five days only: February 22-26, 2017 at BC Place Stadium. Buy tickets online courtesy and save $3 at http://www.bchomeandgardenshow.com/

Please refer to the Cooking Stage schedule for a full list of presenters and presentation times.


Healthy Cooking Classes: Whole, Plant-based, Delicious February 26

This series of classes is a blend of Rooted Nutrition’s Andrea Potter’s most popular nutrition-focused classes from the Eating Clean Series and of Guest Instructor Ellexis Boyle’s cooking classes. Ellexis blends her technique-focused baking classes from previous series into new ‘Plant-Based Baking 1&2’. These newly revised classes get to the heart of ‘how-to’ vegan and healthier baking for the home cook, both beginner and more advanced. Tickets


Renaissance Vermouth and Tapas with Campagnolo and Odd Society – February 23

Campagnolo, Odd Society Spirits and local drinks expert Shaun Layton to present an evening exploring vermouth and tapas.
Odd Society’s cocktail lounge will pay homage to the delightful tapas bars of Spain with The Renaissance of Vermouth.

Guests will be greeted with a perfectly crafted aperitif cocktail, followed by a flight of vermouth, each one thoughtfully chosen by Shaun Layton. Enjoy vermouths from around the world and a selection of Mediterranean tapas prepared by Chef de Cuisine Jesse McMillan of Campagnolo ROMA. 

7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Tickets are $65 (inclusive of tax and gratuity) and can be purchased by emailing info@oddsocietyspirits.com.

Parksville takes the cork out for its 9th annual Parksville Uncorked Wine & Food Festival, February 23 – 26, 2017

We’ve checked this out a few times and highly recommend! Parksville. Parksville Uncorked Wine & Food Festival showcases BC’s wines, beers and cuisine at The Beach Club Resort and Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort for a decadent weekend. The ninth annual celebration takes place February 23 – 26, 2017.

Big Night 2015

Vancouver’s most exciting and exclusive culinary event, Big Night, welcomes over 500 food and wine enthusiasts, local celebrities and media for a glittering gala evening that truly lives up to its name. Each category-winning wine from Vancouver Magazine’s International Wine Competition is paired with a Restaurant Award winning chef, who creates a one-of-a-kind dish just for the evening.

Don’t miss the raffle tickets for Les Dames d’Escoffier Wall of Wine.
Friday February 6th, 2015| 7PM – 9PM
Coast Coal Harbour Hotel (1180 West Hastings Street, Vancouver)

Tickets on sale NOW. Only $99! | Tickets are LIMITED, get yours today!

Top Table Van Mag Award Winners

Contest now closed. In Honour of Top Table’s wine we have a copy of the Araxi cookbook to give away….comment to win…be original!

 Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin and West honoured at Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards
We are pleased to share with you that Top Table restaurants were recognized an unprecedented 17 times at the 21st annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards held Tuesday, May 18th at the Sheraton Wall Centre. A panel of 19 judges acknowledged Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin and West, before a standing-room only audience of British Columbia’s leading restaurateurs, chefs and service professionals. 

Top Table proprietor Jack Evrensel said, “I would like to salute the excellence of all the winners, and the brilliance with which they represented our province to the world during this Olympic year. In particular, I would like to recognize our culinary and service teams at Top Table for their remarkable achievements during the last twelve months. To see all of our restaurants win Gold Awards speaks volumes to the dedication and hard work of every team member.” 

After publishing a multiple-award-winning—and James Beard Award-nominated—cookbook, and hosting thousands of international visitors for the Winter Olympics, Araxi capped off an extraordinary year by winning the Gold Award for Best Whistler restaurant for the 10th time, an unprecedented showing in the 21-year history of these Awards.  

Once again, Chef James Walt captured this award for his seasonal farm-to-table menus proved wildly popular with Araxi’s loyal patrons and judges alike, while providing inspiration and leadership for the farmers and ranchers of the Pemberton Valley. Restaurant director Steve Edwards and his team of sommeliers and servers continue to provide the gracious service that has become a benchmark for Whistler.  

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

  • Restaurant of the Year, Gold 
  • Chef of the Year, Frank Pabst 
  • Best Seafood, Gold 
  • Best Regional, Bronze 
  • Best Service, Bronze 
  • Best Formal Japanese, Honourable Mention 
  • Platinum Wine List Award, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival 

Blue Water Cafe achieved a remarkable trifecta of Gold Awards this year, winning Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, and Best Seafood. According to Vancouver Magazine: “There’s a reason this landmark room on Hamilton Street always seems to be hopping. Proprietor Jack Evrensel has carefully put together what one judge called ‘a dining experience that appeals to almost everyone, from serious foodies to suburbanites out for a special night.’” 

The panel offered further praise for the Chef of the Year: “Executive chef Frank Pabst dazzles, as he has for years, with his ‘stellar menu highlighting locally sourced, sustainable seafood,’ continuing on to cite “his ‘crusade for sustainability,’ ‘determination to explore the culinary potential of species that many chefs overlook,’ and his ‘impeccable technique.’ ‘He may be soft-spoken,’ said one judge, ‘but the humble and lovely Blue Water chef is a force to be reckoned with.’” 


  • Best Last Course, Gold
  • Premier Crew Service Award, David Stanger
  • Gold Wine List Award, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Top Table recently announced the Autumn 2010 opening of the atelier thierry with CinCin’s talented chocolatier-pâtissier, Thierry Busset. So it seems only fitting that the judges presented CinCin with Gold for Best Last Course, saying: “Gold went to Busset, whose ‘skills shine in the simplest of dishes: ethereal coffee macarons, tiramisu like no other, brilliant sorbettos and gelatos.’”

Just five restaurant professionals are selected each year for the Premier Crew Service Award. This year, we’re delighted to announce that CinCin’s David Stanger was the recipient of this highly sought-after award, and as Vancouver Magazine stated: “Charm, attentiveness, and a good sense of humour set these front-of-house stars apart.”


  • Best Service, Gold
  • Restaurant of the Year, Bronze
  • Best Last Course, Bronze
  • Best Regional, Honourable Mention
  • Platinum Wine List Award, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

West won its fourth consecutive Gold Award for Best Service, praise indeed for restaurant director Brian Hopkins and his front-of-house brigade. As the judges stated: “Great service is choreographed but not stagey, friendly but not overbearing, efficient but never rushed. It’s sensing when to show up and when to disappear. West won Gold because of what one judge called its ‘unfailingly gracious, flawless service, right down to the smallest detail—and service is all about the details.’ Another judge said it’s a testament to the West team that ‘a room with such refined edges could feel this comfortable.’”

West also took home Bronze in the Best Last Course category, signalling Rhonda Viani’s years of dedication, and showing that the art of the sweet can be a healthy and refreshing denouement to one’s evening.

Top Table is one of the most highly respected hospitality groups in Canada, encompassing four of the leading restaurants in Vancouver and Whistler: Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin and West, as well as the highly anticipated atelier, ‘thierry’ (Autumn 2010). 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.

Sinclair and Frederique Philip are Lifetime Achievers

Sooke Harbour House Hotel Owners Sinclair and Frederique Philip Receive Lifetime Achievement Award from Vancouver Magazine

Sooke Harbour House owners, Sinclair and Frederique Philip, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Vancouver Magazine’s 21st Annual Restaurant Awards, along with the award for Best Restaurant on Vancouver Island. The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday, May 18th, at the Sheraton Wall Center in Vancouver.

“Long before the 100-Mile Diet, before Bishops and Ocean Wise and the word ‘locavore,’ there was Sooke Harbour House,” says Christina Burridge from Vancouver Magazine, and while regional cuisine is now garnering much media attention, “every proponent of regional dining owes a debt to the locavore granddaddy Sooke Harbour House.”

“Sooke Harbour House has been celebrated by everyone from Condé Nast Traveler to Wine Spectator, and has drawn discerning guests from around the world, but it’s the Philips’ three decades of infusing visitors, chefs, and staff with their knowledge of place that has helped define West Coast food and earned them this award,” says Burridge.

For the Philips, serving seasonal, regional foods at Sooke Harbour House was never about being in vogue. 

“In 1979, when we started to serve local food, we had no idea that eating regionally and seasonally would become as popular as it is today,” says Sinclair Philip.

“When we opened, we simply thought, with such an abundance of high quality regional ingredients, why would we need to bring in foods from anywhere else? We weren’t trying to start a trend, it was just common sense, and also the way we used to eat when we lived in rural France.”

Over the past 31 years, almost all of the food served at the Sooke Harbour House has come from its own certified organic gardens and farm, local area farms in Sooke and Metchosin, and the ocean around their doorstep.

“We still have some of the same suppliers we have worked with for the past 31 years,” says Mr. Philip. 

“We have established a regular supply of free range lamb from across Sooke Bay at Silver Spray Farm, local rabbits, Tamworth pigs, suckling kid, Vancouver Island bison, pastured Cowichan Bay chicken, and we serve rare breed animals from our area.” On top of this, “we were perhaps the first restaurant in Canada to make widespread use of edible flowers, grown outdoors, twelve months of the year,” he adds.

Over these 31 years, the Philips and their team at Sooke Harbour House have learned to work with roughly twenty different types of local seaweeds and large numbers of indigenous plants, berries, wild herbs and mushrooms.

The Philips have always tried to showcase the best foods from Vancouver Island.

“From the very beginning, we realized that it is important to support the production of small scale, artisan cheeses from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. I even have a cheese named after me; that is St. Clair, from Hilary’s Cheese. We can now serve sheep, cow, goat and water buffalo cheeses most months of the year so why would we bring in cheese from the outside?”

“We have also worked to sustain local wines, spirits, ciders and vinegars, as well as meads from Tugwell Creek Meadery and Honey Farm in Sooke.”

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award also marks the 21st consecutive year that the Sooke Harbour House Hotel has received the award from Vancouver Magazine as Best Vancouver Island Restaurant. The Philips credit much of this to their staff at the Sooke Harbour House.

Frederique Philip says, “I am very proud that our kitchen team has once again been honoured with this distinction for their hard and consistent work. It is very hard to maintain this level of quality day in and day out and I really admire them for their ongoing creativity and consistency. It is a pleasure to work with artisans who come up with new dishes that reflect the rhythms of the seasons, and who respect the intrinsic nature of the ingredients from our certified organic gardens and the sea nearby. We have been very fortunate over the last thirty years to have been able to work with such outstanding people.”

To contact Sinclair Philip please call 250-642-3421 ext. 203 or email sinclair@sookeharbourhouse.com. To contact Frederique Philip please call 250-642-3421 ext. 308 or email frederique@sookeharbourhouse.com. Website: www.sookeharbourhouse.com

Sinclair Philip

“In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” – Henry David Thoreau

Sooke Harbour House,
1528 Whiffen Spit Road,
Sooke, British Columbia,
V9Z 0T4  Canada
Email: sinclair@sookeharbourhouse.com
Telephone: 250-642-3421 extension 203

Johansens Award for Excellence, Most Excellent Eco Resort, Condé Nast, 2010

Gold List, World’s Best Places to Stay,

Condé  Nast Traveler, January 2009
One of Canada’s Top Five Hotels”, Travel + Leisure, January 2009
Gold Award for Best Vancouver Island Restaurant, from 1989 to 2010,Vancouver Magazine

Grand Award, One of the World’s Best Wine Lists, Wine Spectator Magazine, August 2009

Fodor’s Choice establishment 2008

Sooke Harbour House was the first recipient of Eat Magazine’s Green Star Guide of Local Food and Drink Hero Award, Eat Magazine, December 2008

Corporate Environmental Award: Leader in Environmentally Responsible Tourism”, Tourism Victoria, 2004

Audubon International Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program, Four Green Leaf Hotel”, the highest eco-rating in British Columbia, 2004


Ranked number eight ‘World’s Best Service’, Travel and Leisure Magazine, Reader’s Poll, June 2007
Best Small Inn in North America, Readers poll and editors of Mountain Living Magazine, January 2007