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50 Years. 50 Chefs: A memorable celebration

Posted on November 30, 2015

News-50Chefs-380The 50 Years. 50 Chefs. fundraising gala on Nov. 17 lived up to its billing as the “Culinary Event of the Year.” A packed Rocky Mountaineer Station enjoyed a unique culinary showcase served up by a roster of talented Vancouver Community College alumni chefs who have made their mark on the Vancouver food scene.

Chefs on hand represented Vancouver’s full culinary range including dining establishments, resorts, hotels, bistros, restaurant groups, bakeries, food trucks and more. What they all had in common was a connection to VCC’s renowned culinary and baking and pastry arts programs and perhaps a little friendly competition to see who could wow gala attendees the most.

The 50 Years. 50 Chefs. experience

Upon entering the finely-appointed venue, guests were immediately greeted with tasting-sized food creations served at 15 stations and as passed appetizers. Dishes ran the culinary spectrum from venison and bison to every type of seafood, incorporating both exotic and local ingredients and reflecting ethnic influences.

Desserts items, prepared by a collective of bakers and pastry chefs, included chocolates, s’mores and pastries, while liquid nitrogen was expertly handled to produce ice-cold treats on demand. Both savory and sweet items were meticulously assembled, demonstrating the artistry of the participants and providing a treat for the eyes as much as the palate.

As a perfect culinary complement, seventeen wineries from the Naramata Bench Wineries Association poured generous samples to the roving guests throughout the night.

Class reunion

Students from VCC’s culinary arts and international culinary arts programs got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to assist many of Vancouver’s top chefs, while students in VCC’s hospitality management programs provided service.

The evening also turned into a reunion of sorts for chefs to re-connect with former classmates, instructors, culinary luminaries and others in the restaurant industry, with more than one chef overheard to say “We should do this more often”.

And the band played onNews-50Chefs-400

Live music provided by an all-star ensemble composed of VCC’s noteworthy music program faculty and alumni including Laurence Mollerup, bass, vocalist Tom Arntzen, Bernie Arai on drums, Daryl Jahnke, guitar, Bill Sample on keyboards, with special guest, saxophonist Karen Graves. 50 Years. 50 Chefs. served up more than an amazing array of food offerings, as other VCC programs provided the evening’s entertainment. These included:

  • The VCC/Arts Umbrella Dance Company broke out into a flash mob to the Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” with guests soon joining in, followed by a mesmerizing dance interpretation of Rufus Wainwright’s “Oh, What a World.”
  • VCC fashion arts students, alumni and faculty illustrated and created designs inspired by 1965, the year VCC was founded. The top 13 designs were showcased at the gala in a fashion show entitled “Eight Days a Week”, while the illustrations were on display and up for auction. The winning design and illustration were determined based on Facebook likes and judged by a professional panel, with each winner taking home $750.‌
  • VCC’s auto collision repair & refinishing program displayed a restored 1965 Pontiac Daytona that provided a backdrop for souvenir photos.
  • A silent auction was held by the VCC Foundation featuring jewellery, dining experiences at participating restaurants, sporting events, wine and food baskets, spa experiences and hotel accommodation.

A special thanks to our supporters

50 Years. 50 Chefs. would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors including:

50 Years. 50 Chefs. raised over $150,000 for Vancouver Community College Foundation which funds scholarships, bursaries and training aids for VCC students.

And finally, a toast to the chefs who are testament to VCC’s culinary programs and helped make VCC’s official 50th anniversary celebration such a memorable event.

Here’s to the next 50 years!

Full photo gallery: