Food Talks Volume 6-6

Last week, Dockside Brewing opened its lovely bar and lounge space to host Vancouver Foodster’s 6th edition of Food Talks Vancouver.

Richard Wolak aka Vancouver Foodster

Richard Wolak is the man behind Vancouver Foodster, Food Talks, and Tasting Plates.

Food Talks Volume 6-26

A variety of appetizers and decadent desserts were prepared by Dockside’s Executive Chef Simon McNeil and his team for a large group of attendees.

Fire roasted chili prawns with garlic Ancho jelly Irish Dubliner & glazed pear lollies with house quince butter Mini Banh Mi Sliders with hoisin mayo and siracha smear Petite pistachio financiers Food Talks Volume 6-7
[Fire roasted chili prawns with garlic Ancho jelly, Irish Dubliner & glazed pear lollies with house quince butter, Mini Banh Mi Sliders with hoisin mayo & siracha smear, petite pistachio financiers]

Each guest received two sampler-sized Dockside craft beers and the chance to mingle and nibble before the speaker portion of the evening started.

Petite lemon lavender almond tuilles Orange scented milk chocolate Rocher truffles
[Petite lemon lavender almond tuilles, orange scented milk chocolate Rocher truffles]

Here are the five speakers and a bit of what they are passionate about in our food community.

Bella Gelateria's James Coleridge
[Bella Gelateria’s James Coleridge]

James Coleridge is a custodian behind an old-world process, guarding against industrial methods.

On this evening, he talked about the concept of time. “You own you, and your passion is what puts you one step forward”. That passion has definitely filtered into his business: James has recently been nominated as the top gelato master in the world. He began three and a half years ago, by sending an email requesting the desire to learn to make gelato. Moving up in the industry, he hung out with the best gelato makers in Italy. Later, when he went on to win awards, they became even better friends.

At times James spends 20 hours a day making gelato. At the moment, the shop is at capacity, with lines out the door on any given day, let alone a warm, summer one. His motto? Take 20% of your time and play. You do not have to be perfect.

If you’re at all into climbing, talk to James. He’s done just about every climb in North America, and has ventured to South America and polar regions as well.

Julia Smith of Urban Digs Farm
[Julia Smith of Urban Digs Farm]

Julia Smith worked for 12 years in a successful web development company, had a couple of kids, but felt the need to return to school. Attempting a geology degree, a permaculture course derailed her from that direction. She wanted to lead a more balanced life and become more self-sufficient. Julia began with a 1/4 acre lot available for gardening. This later led to 1/2 an acre in Steveston, followed by three acres in Burnaby.

Her goal was to live off the land. She sees a lot of benefits to both the local food movement and to urban farming, the most important being that almost all the money made goes back to the local economy. Seasonal and regional foodstuffs are not only more nutritious, but leave a smaller environmental footprint.

As consumers, we have the power to say no. “Vote with your wallet.”

She’s proud to boast that she raised two pigs on urban wastes streams: “Bacon raised on garbage”. How great is that?!

Mark Simpson talking craft beer and wine experiences
[Mark Simpson]

Mark Simpson began at Molson Brewing in Kitsilano. He was taught valuable lessons in brewing from the folks at Moosehead, Kirin, and Coors, but didn’t see himself following a linear path. Even though he also worked for Coca-Cola and Vincor, he was influenced a modest start in the wine vineyards, with new passions and problem-solving in that industry.

He soon began his own consultancy has never looked back. Recent projects include a beer with Belgian restaurant Chambar, using Belgian brewing techniques. He aims to spend 200 days a year outdoors, enjoying the Okanagan region. Another success is creating his own wine, this year producing 42 tons of grapes. He feeds off the energy of clients, growers, and chefs. His motto? “Eat, drink, and be local”.

“Food is the essence of life.” – Marcus von Albrecht

Chef/Liquor maker Marcus von Albrecht
[Chef/Liquor maker Marcus von Albrecht]

Marcus is someone I’ve gotten to know through various chef events. He’s an easy-going, fun person whose love of food and liquor is nearly surpassed by his passion in those industries.

He’s travelled the world to teach cooking as well as having attended delegations to promote Canadian cuisine. Everything from the finest establishments in Europe to dining with the locals on the Mexican beaches while also spending two years living out of a van. This is the world according to Marcus and he seems very happy in it.

Vancouver is blessed with a huge abundance of ingredients. Marcus is the first in Canada to have created a line of natural meal replacement products for both adults and children. Finlaggan was what started him in the whisky business. His Dad was an influencing factor on his career, telling his son that you’ll need to have a product that can be sold year-round. This led Marcus to creating proseccos, red wines, sparkling wines, and vodka.

A sampling of Marcus von Albrecht's food and liquor products

The best year of his life was spent making his first vodka. Experimentation, drinking, rinse and repeat. X4 is his current line of specialty vodka. A Bremner’s blueberry juice-enhanced vodka will be the newest product to hit the shelves in the near future.

His motto? “Have a plan, and have a passion in it.”

Marcus von Albrecht is also grateful for those who spread the word through media and blogging. He gets it.

Shahab Samimi of Pura Agave Syrups Pura Sweet agave syrup
[Shahab Samimi of Pura Agave Syrups]

Themis Velgis & Shahab Samimi are behind Pura Agave sweeteners, a sustainable sugar replacement. Themis spend his career in the hospitality industry. Losing his chocolate business in Yaletown led him to partner with Shahab. The two were intent on creating a product that was sugar-free, gluten-free, and tastes good. They fell in love with agave.

Themis Velgis of Pura Agave Syrups
[Themis Velgis of Pura Agave Syrups]

While neither have a background in agave production, they found a producer in Mexico. One failed attempt wasn’t strong enough to dissuade them. The second time around, friends joined in to raise capital. Pura pays the highest for agave in the industry, and uses glass bottles. From a humble beginning, they’re now in IGA and Urban Fare shops, with worldwide interest.

Food Talks Vancouver Vol. 6 speakers
[Themis Velgis, Shahab Samimi, Mark Simpson, Julia Smith, James Coleridge, Marcus Von Albrecht]

A Q&A and raffle followed the talks, the main topics being market practices, sustainability, growth strategy, and everyone’s favourite gelato flavour.

Food Talks Vancouver Vol. 6 Q&A session Food Talks Vancouver Vol. 6 Q&A session Food Talks Vancouver Vol. 6 Q&A session Food Talks Vancouver Vol. 6 Q&A session

The event was enhanced by two X4 specialty vodka pourings (including a chocolate vodka!) created by chef/spirits man Marcus Von Albrecht and James Coleridge of Bella Gelateria’s delicious sorbetto collaboration with brewer Mark Simpson and Dockside.

Beer sorbet prepared by Bella Gelateria's James Coleridge
[Dockside beer sorbet prepared by Bella Gelateria’s James Coleridge]

The next Food Talks (Volume 7) is slated for April 2. Richard hinted at a slightly different format for the upcoming event. Stay tuned for ticket and lineup information on this site.

1 Comment

  • Pingback by Food Talks Volume 7 | Vancouverscape — September 20, 2015 @ 10:23 pm

    […] Meet and mingle with other foodies and hear a group of enlightened speakers from our local food community. To learn about past Food Talk experiences, view my featured coverage here: Volume 1, Volume 2/Volume 3 Info, Volume 4, Volume 5 and Volume 6. […]

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