The gala dinner is always one of the most popular components of the annual BC Shellfish Festival.

The gala dinner is always one of the most popular components of the annual BC Shellfish Festival.

Chefs named for BC Shellfish Festival’s gala dinner

Tickets go on sale next Monday

The BC Shellfish Growers Association has announced the chef lineup for the 10th Annual BC Shellfish Gala Dinner to be held Friday, June 17.

The BCSGA Gala Dinner is one of the many events that are part of the 10-day BC Shellfish Festival that happens each June, B.C. Seafood Month, in the Comox Valley, the largest festival of its kind on the west coast.

The first dinner event was hosted in 2006, an idea brought to reality by the BC Shellfish Growers Association as a way to share and celebrate the significant contribution that shellfish farming makes to local communities and the provincial economy. Our region produces some of the highest quality shellfish that can be found on menus throughout the world, and B.C. shellfish farmers are operating a sustainable industry that provides more than 1,000 full time jobs in rural and coastal communities, and accounts for more than $33 million of farm gate sales.

Since its inception, the dinner has become one of the summer’s most anticipated events. Showcasing acclaimed chefs from around the province, it attracts seafood lovers from across Canada, the United States and as far as Mexico.

The 10th anniversary year in 2016 is even more significant as it will also mark the final year for this dinner. With many helping grow the event into what it has become today, the planning has been led each year by BCSGA executive director Roberta Stevenson, who will retire following the event.  Hands-on support from Tom Broadley (former) BCSGA president and, in most recent years, a team including Laura Kempling as event co-ordinator, chef Aaron Rail, White Whale Restaurant as chef coordinator, additional support from chef Kathy Jerritt, Tria Fine Catering, and design and media support from Amanda Woloshyn.

The seaside event begins with a late afternoon reception set on the waterfront of the historic Filberg Park and Lodge, overlooking Comox Harbour and the Beaufort mountain range. Guests will have the opportunity to sample a variety of oysters from different regions of the B.C. coast, shucked and served by the farmers who grew them, along with a glass of local B.C. wine or beer. As the sun sets, diners will enjoy no less than six courses, each plate designed by a different chef and expertly paired with a B.C. wine or craft beer with help from sommelier Pamela Sanderson, Cascadia Liquor.

The list of 2016 featured chefs include:

Garrett Schack, Vista 18, Victoria;

Jeff Keenliside, The Marina Restaurant, Victoria;

John McManus, The Vancouver Fish Company, Vancouver;

Matt MacDonald, Berwick by the Sea, Campbell River;

Ian Riddick, Long Beach Lodge Resort, Tofino.

Running a successful restaurant is not a career that affords a lot of free time, so why do these chefs agree to share a valuable weekend and travel to the Comox Valley?

According to Stevenson, the first couple of years required some begging, but now “chefs are enthusiastic about participating in the event, they know it is a lot of fun and look forward to working with their peers. The creativity of the chefs in preparing our products is amazing. I anticipate this year’s event to be the best ever!”

The BCSGA Gala Dinner and Shellfish Festival activities attract a number of professional foodies each year. With only 224 seats available, the event sells out quickly each year. Tickets for the Gala Dinner go on sale at 9 a.m., Monday, April 11, are $150 per person, or as tables of eight. To reserve with a credit card, please call the BCSGA office at 250-890-7561. For more info go to Facebook/BCShellfishFestival and discovercomoxvalley.com

 

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