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GUEST BLOGGER: Bob Blumer on Stage at EAT! Vancouver


Posted by : Anonymous, Wed, May 28 2008

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This past weekend was the EAT! Vancouver festival, Canada's largest food and cooking event. In a venue usually reserved for the BC Lions, BC Place was abuzz with foodies, restaurants, food retailers and manufacturers, along with a Food Network celebrity chef or two.

I got there right as the gates were opening and already there was a line up snaked inside the building. Once in, the arena was filled with vendors hawking their wares, and like everyone else, I wanted to sample all I could. While I hate line-ups (and oh, you better get used to them here!), I did manage to snag some good free eats, including sips of my favorite Boylan's soda and a great new discovery: Crispy Cat coconut mint candy bars (organic & vegan!) from the Planet Organic Market booth. There was also a beer and wine tasting pavilion which I would have loved to explore... however, I forgot my driver's license at home and with their strict two ID policy, I don't think I could have snuck by unnoticed.

My first stop of the day was checking out Bob Blumer's set on the Food Network Celebrity Stage. You may be familiar with his antics on the Food Network show The Surreal Gourmet or his newest TV adventure, Glutton for Punishment. Lucky for all his fans, his appearance at the festival was just as entertaining. Bob made a wild mushroom, Brie and roasted garlic pizza on the grill (the recipe is available in his new cookbook, Pizza on the Grill). And because it just wouldn't be a Bob Blumer appearance without some kind of stunt, he had an audience member dial up Domino's Pizza and order a pizza to have delivered to the festival, just to prove that he could make a pizza faster than it would take to have it delivered...and it would cost less and taste better. His stunt worked on all counts and I wish I could have been one of the lucky audience members chosen for a bite.

After his demo, Bob signed autographs for throngs of hungry fans. I was surprised to see so many young men (and I mean, teenagers too) getting their photos taken with the Surreal Gourmet. He definitely has a diverse fan base. Bob didn't have much time, but I managed to get in a few questions backstage. When I asked him what the craziest thing he's ever done in the name of food, he said it was definitely eating fugu (the deadly poisonous fish that takes Japanese chefs three years of study -- Bob crammed for five days with master chef, Tojo).

I wanted to know what were his favourite restaurants around town, and he listed off Vij's, Tojo's, Go Fish, the Bin restaurants, Hapa Izakaya and the French fries at Wazubee's.

Since Bob cooked in a toaster-on-wheels for years, I knew he had experience with small kitchens. What was his secret? Start with good ingredients, was his reply. He also said not to crowd your counter space with flour and sugar containers that never get used. Figure out instead what you use all the time, he went on, and then shift things around to make things work. And from someone with a tiny kitchen, I couldn't agree more.

And hey, if you have any ideas for his newest show Glutton for Punishment, Bob would love to hear them, so send him your extreme food challenge!

Jeannette Ordas is a Vancouver-based Web Designer and Food Blogger who is probably right now thinking about what she'll make for dinner.   

Posted: Wed, May 28 2008 by Anonymous

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