Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party/Anjali Spooner
The city's culinary elite gathered en masse last Thursday night to attend Vancouver's edition of Canada's Great Kitchen Party. As the last of nine regional qualifiers held across the country for the Canadian Culinary Championship, this prestigious event is equally focused on fundraising to provide accessible opportunities for young Canadians to achieve excellence in their pursuits of sport, music, and food. The late and dearly loved Vancouver food writer Andrew Morrison, co-founder of Scout Magazine, played a key role in Canada's Great Kitchen Party for 14 years. To kick off the evening's celebrations, national Kitchen Party lead judge James Chatto took the podium to honour the significant impact of Andrew's life and announce the creation of the Andrew Morrison Memorial Award in his name.
"With ineffable charm and an impeccable palate, Andrew was brilliant in this role," attested James. "His sense of fair play was unimpeachable and he was far more firm and resolute when chefs tried to get away with mayhem than some of us soft-hearted fools."
Andrew and his wife Michelle Sproule launched Scout Magazine in 2008, the preeminent online guide to what's new and good in Vancouver. A year prior, James enthusiastically invited Andrew to be the Vancouver senior judge for Gold Medal Plates (now known as Canada's Great Kitchen Party), a role he shared with wine and food expert and educator Sid Cross. Andrew was a beloved member of the Kitchen Party team and held the position until he passed away in 2021. He revelled in the challenge: impartially judging events and passionately sharing his knowledge and honest feedback with regional chefs in Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna, and at the Canadian Culinary Championship.
"Andrew always encouraged curiosity," shares Michelle. "One of the biggest thrills of his role as a food writer and publisher was to see learning in action, particularly in a kitchen environment between established and emerging talents. He would be proud to have his name attached to a bursary that supports a deserving student in the culinary program at Vancouver Community College."
With an audience of well over 500 guests plus 100s of chefs, judges, and volunteers, the inaugural 2022 Andrew Morrison Memorial Award was presented on stage to Vancouver Community College culinary arts student, Tsai Rung "Sara" Lee. This bursary further bolsters Andrew's legacy of championing small independent restaurants and rising stars in the culinary industry, and will be awarded each year to a deserving culinary student from VCC.
"Receiving this scholarship was a pleasant surprise, and really meaningful to me," explains Sara. "It's my honour to be chosen, and an affirmation of my efforts and the possibilities ahead."
"Sara always has a smile on her face and enjoys being challenged to flex her creative skills in the kitchen," says Karen Gin, VCC Culinary Arts instructor. "Her ambition, positive attitude, and ability to focus are her strengths."