by Lauren Mote
Tonight, as I accompanied Vitamin V editor Sarah Bancroft, we celebrated the world’s finest sparkling wines and mouth-watering oysters at Joe Forte’s annual charity event to support the Vancouver Child Burn Unit.
Goldfish publicist and Joe Forte’s public relations representative, Tara Parker-Tait, cordially extended a ticket to the charitable event, as a way to become involved in the Vancouver restaurant scene, well the side I was interested in… the media. Upon entering, I checked my coat, grabbed a tasting glass, a wine checklist and greeted Tara at the bar. After three tastings of cavas and strawberry sparkling wines, I located a delightful poached tiger prawn on a fork, topped with tomato compote. I wondered about the room, a gorgeous space with decorative “grandmother” accents like lace curtains. I found myself leaning against the bar watching the well dressed people float by me. I was looking around for the hors d’oeuvres and Mrs. Bancroft.
I was breathing the air of mixed perfume, fresh oysters and then the air inside my tasting glass. The sharp nose on the Kenwood Sparkling Wine shot me back into reality, quit your dozing Lauren! Finally, I am rescued by one of the three people who would introduce themselves to me Molly Edge, Director of Human Resources & People Systems at Joe Fortes Corp. We chatted for a few minutes, and then Sarah arrived. I had a nice conversation with her husband, chef and Vancouver magazine writer Murray Bancroft, as well as countless media personalities and food writers.
We make our way up to the French sparkling area, mostly from Champagne region. I try a series of different sparklings – Laurent-Perrier, Perrier Jouët, Lanson Black Label, Veuve Clicquot… all of them exquisite. As I am sipping and chatting about current events, we bump into Globe and Mail food writer Alexandra Gill. Ms. Gill and I converse, then wonder to the heated patio for a cigarette. Cassandra, another local writer, accompanies us. I learn that she is a wine merchant, as well as a high-end sake merchant. Exciting, I would love to implement something like that at Lumière; the sake flight program – 3 x 1 ounce pours of interesting sakes. The ladies start chatting about Cornucopia, which started the following morning, and as a person new to Vancouver, I was intrigued by all the hype surrounding this food and wine appreciation event in Whistler, BC. However, this event is also known as the biggest booze party of the autumn season.
I head downstairs, and Sarah introduces me to Bob Mercer, Editor of Vancouver Lifestyles Magazine, or VLM as stated on his business card. We get to chatting about the event, my aspirations as a writer, etc… but unfortunately, a snag I ran into with Mr. Mercer, which would become repetitive as the evening continued, was the question of my workplace. I am the Bar Manager at Lumière, one of the most talked about restaurants in the media right now, as just a few days earlier, Chef Rob Feenie resigned from his position of Executive Chef of both Lumière and Feenie’s restaurants. So, as fate would have it, I found myself explaining carefully, with respect to confidentiality, a “loose” tale of how the restaurants are coping with the loss. Yikes. Thank goodness I do not buckle under the pressure of sparkling alcoholic beverages.
At the end of the evening, I was grateful for the opportunity to attend the event, and made some great connections. I went home, feeling like I just became a little bit more involved in the Vancouver scene. A really rewarding feeling.