Vancouver chefs generate buzz for produce with BCPMA
For the past 19 years, BCPMA Healthy Chef Competition & Dinner has taken place at the cusp of spring’s arrival. Always on a Wednesday. Always supported by the BC Produce Marketing Association (BCPMA) and the BC Chef’s Association (BCCA).
It’s been a unique relationship that has forged relationships that extend across a dinner plate into the shopper’s basket. This long running initiative to connect foodservice, grocer retailers and the produce industry has been gaining momentum.
“An item introduced on a chef’s plate generates interest at the grocery store level,” states retailer Rob Johnson, Country Grocer – Vancouver Island, and BCPMA director, “Shoppers will often look for ingredients that they had during a restaurant meal.”
“The competition is a huge undertaking and we work closely to ensure that everyone walks away feeling like a winner,” states Margie Schurko, ABC Custom Brokerage and Secretary/Treasurer BCPMA.
“Thanks to the many volunteers, the generosity of the industry and the support of key sponsors like BC Tree Fruits and the Little Potato Company, we’ve become an insider’s culinary event.”
Angela Santiago, CEO, The Little Potato Company, is thrilled to be a Title sponsor. “Our mission is to bring excitement and growth back into the potato category – one creamer potato at a time and this event is one way we can achieve that.”
The competition features ten restaurants and culinary schools who are challenged to abundantly use fresh produce in each dish prepared for the 500 guests.
“This year we saw celeriac spaghetti, mint melon balls and torched beet root meringues,” said Chef and BCCA judge Edgar Rahal, “each year we see wonderful ways of using fresh produce.”
Chris Yli-Luoma of FreshGuru, stated, “We had an excellent group of food writers, videographers, and bloggers this year. They judged the best table presentations awarding points for use of fresh produce and originality. They take this task very seriously.”
Winners: The Healthy Half Your Plate Entrée Trophy, plus $1,000, went to the Executive Plaza Hotel / Wild Fig for their Beet Cured Smoked Sous Vide pork loin, Best Dessert went to the Vancouver Community College for their Pear Custard Bar, they also picked up the People’s Choice Award; Best Table Showcase was given to the Marriott Vancouver Airport – American Grille. They created a fantasy wonderland with hand carved fruits and vegetables complete with a sculpture of forest creatures
Planning has started for the 20th BCPMA Healthy Chef Competition in March 2019. Margie Schurko, who produces the event, is already looking at ways to make it bigger and better.
The event, co-hosted with the BC Chefs’ Association (BCCA) givens it credibility and foodservice suppliers like Sysco and Gordon Foodservice are strong collaborators. The CPMA has been involved in the judging, keeping a sharp eye out to ensure the presence of fresh produce.
“We also want to continue our outreach program with food bloggers are active across a multitude of media channels. We’ve had tremendous coverage and this helps generate interest in the produce industry,” added Chris Yli-Luoma.
WHY THIS EVENT:
- Monies are raised for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society, the Half Your Plate Initiative and to the BC Chefs’ Junior Scholarships.
- The BCPMA contributes $7,000.00 to the BCCA Junior Scholarship foundation.
- Encourages established restaurants and up and coming culinary students to actively use fresh fruits and vegetables as the star performers on the plate
- Connects the food service to grocery retail in a unique fashion.
- The more exposure and usage of fresh produce by the culinary world, the more opportunity we have to reach out to consumers with new ideas.
- To challenge the talent of local rising and established chefs in Vancouver by having them get involved in a fun healthy event.
Check out the www.bcproducebc.ca for visuals and menus from this event.
BCPMA members includes grocers, wholesalers, foodservice suppliers and others involved in the selling and buying of fresh produce in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photos from previous years: http://tiny.cc/HCall.
Pictured: Winner of Healthy Half Your Plate Entrée Trophy, Executive Plaza Hotel / Wild Fig’s Beet Cured Smoked Sous Vide pork loin.