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
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
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
eating fugu (the deadly poisonous fish that takes Japanese
chefs three years of study -- Bob crammed for five days with master
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