Countdown to Culinaire 2012

24 Feb

There are many things that make me proud to call Victoria BC my home: the gorgeous weather, the friendly people, the stunning scenery – the list is truly endless! But right there on top of that hefty list is something many people might find surprising – the surplus of unbelievable avenues for great food, drink and dining. The rich culinary scene that has developed in this small capitol city over the past few years is a result of dedicated restaurateurs, talented chefs and passionate foodies who have created spaces for the exchange of flavours, ideas and information concerning all things edible. Whether it’s a friendly yet cutting edge kitchen store, a charming artisanal deli, an impressive gourmet restaurant, or a delightful café and bakery, there seems to be a wide and extensive variety of delicious destinations packed into this tiny town.

One amazing new addition of the past couple years is Culinaire, which showcases Victoria’s food and beverage scene through a collection of stands that offer tasty treats attendees can try whether it’s from a familiar place, or an unknown discovery. But for Scott Gurney, who has created and organized this event along with his wife Amy Pecorelli, the process of experiencing the unknown is the main goal of Culinaire.

Last year’s Culinaire, hosted by the Victoria Conference Centre at the Crystal Gardens

Gurney has been an established member of the Victoria culinary community for many years as the general manager of Darcy’s Pub, as well as prominent positions at other restaurants around town. His passion for food and drink is only succeeded by his immense desire to spread awareness about the amazing talents that our city offers. He explains that while it’s easy to get stuck going to your favourite spot over and over again, he encourages patrons to visit Culinaire so that they can expand their experiences and gain awareness of the many local restaurants that offer fantastic menus and service – something that could ultimately spice up a potentially tiresome date-night routine. But his bottom line is that you never know until you try, and that’s why Gurney encourages those who weren’t able to attend last year’s Culinaire, to grab some of the few remaining tickets and come with open minds, and open stomachs.

Beet and goat cheese terrine from Lure

Fiamo staff serve up red wine to people passing by

Chicken and rib sandwich from Broad Street Kitchen

I was personally unable to attend last year’s event and could not be more excited for the 2012 edition, which will take place on March 22nd. I’m always eager to try new things and discover new places, and it seems Gurney has read my mind by creating a utopic haven to do just that, all in one evening, within a conveniently confined space, filled with some of the most celebrated culinary spots on Vancouver Island!

It truly is a dream come true for those looking to experience a selection of the finest food and beverages our region has to offer, as well as those who are constantly saying they could have a meal simply from bite-sized hors d’eouvres.  Presenters from Victoria, The Cowichan Valley, and Saltspring Island will be serving inspired creations and signature dishes for you to try at one of two seatings, whereby tickets include 10 tastings from different presenters. But of course if 10 simply isn’t enough, you can purchase extra tasting tickets for $1 each (1 ticket = 1 tasting).

Although there are now limited tickets available, you might be one of the lucky ones who can find tickets for either the 5:00 pm – 7:15 pm seating or the 7:30pm – 9:45 pm seating at The Bard & Banker Pub (1022 Government Street) and Phillips Brewing Company (2010 Government Street). Tickets are $32.00 (including HST) and sales go towards the Camosun College Professional Cook Program scholarship awards, as well as the BC Hospitality Foundation. For Gurney, this event is all about encouraging local businesses and individuals, and that’s why he could not be more proud to offer support to both these amazing organizations that in turn promote and develop the food and beverage industries on the island.

Fresh raw oysters from The Oyster Bar

Bison short rib with a chipotle BBQ sauce and artisan baguette crostini

With over 50 presenters from a collection of restaurants, bakeries, cafes, breweries, wineries, and delis, it will be easy to find a number of things that will excite you about the culinary scene in this city. I’m already excited and the event is a month away! I hope to see many familiar faces at Culinaire 2012, and I look forwards to sharing my experiences with you post the blissful food-coma that will no doubt ensure.

Smoked trout/smoked sablefish and peas vol-au-vont from the BC Hospitality Foundation

*For more information head to

*All photos are courtesy of Maryanne Carmack. To check out more from this talented photographer and foodie, please visit her website at


2 Responses to “Countdown to Culinaire 2012”

  1. Maryanne Carmack 24/02/2012 at 11:43 AM #

    Fabulous article! I can’t wait for you to share your Culinaire 2012 experience with us!


  1. Summer Food Fest Frenzie and Culinaire Re-Cap « Shortt and Sweet - 08/06/2012

    […] more on this years’ event, you can check out the video I hosted, my previous article on Culinaire, or their website at […]

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