Upcoming Event: ICC Food Fest June 10

Foodfest 2011. Photos by Maryanne Carmack

They say many hands make light work, but for local culinary event Food Fest, many hands make delicious work! Unlike some other Victoria culinary events, the goal of Food Fest isn’t necessarily to promote individual chefs, brewers, restaurants and wineries. Organizers would prefer event-goers experience the benefits of cooperative creation through Vancouver Island’s food and beverage scene. That’s because Food Fest is an annual fundraiser for The Island Chefs Collaborative (ICC) – “a like-minded community of chefs and food and beverage professionals with a common interest in regional food security, the preservation of farmland, and the development of local food systems.” Dwane MacIsaac, president of the ICC and owner of Passioneat Foods, argues that this is possibility the only event of its kind on the island when considering the collective process and the goal of raising funds for local farmers and processors. “It’s expensive to produce food on the island,” Chef MacIsaac admits. “The land, the equipment – there are so many costs. It’s nice to know that you can give someone that extra push to get going. We’ve all been there. It’s a chance for others in the food community to pay it forward.”


Each year over 40 individuals and businesses help pay it forward by getting together to create delicious dishes, or by offering tastings of their ciders, wines, beer and other goods. For a price of $50 for adults, $25 for youth aged 9-16 years, or $100 for a family (2 adults, 2 youth), guests can sample as much as they would like while learning about the food and farms on Vancouver Island. This year the proceeds are going towards a new zero-interest microloan fund for farmers and processors to invest in equipment and materials. In addition to the goal of raising funds for the microloans, Food Fest contributors take pride in the fact that this is a family friendly and educational event, where participants are encouraged to ask questions and take an intimate look at the food they eat and the people that feed them. In fact, almost every ingredient used in each dish or glass is locally cultivated and shared through a generous and friendly network of food industry professionals through membership in the ICC.


Kristen Jordan, owner of Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse and one of the contributors of this year’s event, says Food Fest is a “great example of collaboration [whereby] the ICC is raising awareness about growing good food, and how local businesses can use these amazing island-grown products.” Jordan, who has been involved in Food Fest for the past four years, refers to this event as a “snapshot of the enormous potential of the island” and something she feels many people living here still have yet to discover. Garrett Schack, Food Coordinator of Food Fest and executive chef at Vista 18 Restaurant mentions some of the ways Food Fest promotes collaboration and local ingredients by providing a sneak peak at some of the dishes that will be offered at this year’s event. “Everyone’s really excited about peasant and street food these days, and this is in fact a great way to showcase how people can use local, seasonal ingredients in a creative and affordable way.” Instead of fish and chips, event-goers can try a BBQ sardine and potato chip plate using fresh and local fish and potatoes. Instead of the usual hotdog, guests can try an artisanal locally sourced sausage in a regular or gluten-free bun. In fact, many stands will be offering gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian options as well as alcohol free beverages at many of the wine, cider and beer stands. When reflecting on Food Fest, Chef Schack makes special note of their common goals. “The egos really stay at the door,” he says. “It’s all about people who are passionate about good food, getting together to create some fun dishes and raise awareness about are local culinary and farming industries.”


The event takes place at the beautiful venue of Fort Rod Hill on June 10, 2012. Tickets are available online at the ICC website, in person at Cook Culture and Charelli’s Cheese Shop & Delicatessen, or by phone through The Westshore Chamber of Commerce at (250) -478-1130 or The Whole Beast at (250)–590-PORK.


ICC:  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Island-Chefs-Collaborative/347523225280897




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