Just one more excuse to eat out…

Prawn spring roll and geoduck-mushroom pastry, Left to right Michelle Dunn of Tourism Richmond, Jocelyn Hsiang of HSBC, Craig Stowe, Co-founder and Director of CRA, Stephen Wong, Co-founder and Judging Chair, Hives designed by Anson Aguiree Firth (left) and Carrie McKellar (right) Awards photos by Anya Levykh, Hives photo courtesy of the Fairmont.


Yesterday I attended the launch lunch (try saying that five times fast) for the 2011 HSBC Chinese Restaurant Awards. It was held at Red Star Restaurant (no website, 604.270.3003, 8181 Cambie Rd, Richmond). We got to meet the judges for this year, hear about the new categories and format in both the diners’ and judges’ choice contests, and sampled some of last year’s winning dishes—nine to be exact—including dim sum, barbecue duck, Dungeness crab with wild rice, and sautéed geoduck with abalone and asparagus.

The 11 judges for this year’s awards include, among others, Founding Chair chef, restaurateur and journalist Stephen Wong; culinary tour leader and food blogger Melody Fury; Joie Alvaro Kent of Vancouver Magazine; Brendon Matthews of UrbanDiner.ca; and local food writer and editor Lee Man.

The awards are divided into the same two categories as last year, the Diners’ Choice Awards and the Critics’ Choice Signature Dish Awards. This year, for the first time, members of the public can actually nominate restaurants between September 28 and October 5. The top 20 restaurants nominated by the public will form the list that will be voted on to receive the Diners’ Choice Awards. There are 15 categories for diners to vote in this year, including Best Modern Chinese (new this year), Best Chinese Bakery and best BBQ Shop. Voting will take place online, from October 6 through November 12, at www.votedinerschoice.com.

For the Critics’ Choice component, the judges have already began the process of choosing their top picks in each of 24 signature dish categories, plus two new awards this year, the Chinese Chef of the Year and Wine & Spirit Service Award. and all winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on January 18, 2011.

So get thee to a Chinese eatery and vote!

And on the sweeter side of things…

Each of the Fairmont Hotels has a mandate to create and maintain a sustainable signature, and the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel has got a real buzz going (pardon the pun). Step out into the lush, 2,100-square-foot herb garden at the hotel and peer over the rail at the beautiful and innovative hives designed by the students of Emily Carr University of Art & Design and Capilano University’s IDEA Program. The hives are home to approximately 500,000 honeybees, who managed to produce 700 lbs of liquid gold this past year in the rooftop apiary. This zero-mile honey is now being used by EC Patrick Dore in Herons Restaurant in dishes like honey-smoked duck pizzas, honey pecorino on cedar plank, and honey ganache chocolates. Guests of the hotel can also book a tour of the garden and hives as part of a package stay.

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