HONOURING A CULINARY HERO
Les Dames d’Escoffier, BC Chapter, alongside some of this country’s finest chefs,
to honour John Bishop, founder of farm-to-table dining
October 3rd will be a green letter day in Vancouver’s food scene. It’s the day when the BC Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier will honour John Bishop – Vancouver’s iconic chef, restaurateur, slow food proponent and the person who created the farm-to-table movement in Canada’s restaurant scene. This is the third such special gala evening produced by Les Dames – the first in 2012 honoured Julia Child (on what would have been her 100th birthday), last year’s honoree was restaurateur Umberto Menghi.
At a stunning single long table for 100 guests (the cities longest) on the 2nd floor of the Four Seasons Hotel, industry luminaries, long time guests and family will join television host, and long-time Bishop’s fan, Fanny Keefer at an elegant champagne reception hosted by Moët & Chandon, followed by a multi course dinner from some of the country’s finest chefs – all to honour John Bishop.
Joining Les Dames for this extraordinary culinary celebration are some of Canada’s top chefs, many of them flying in to Vancouver create their course for this special dinner. The all-star brigade, under the leadership of Les Dames d’Escoffier member and Culinary Capers Catering award-winning Executive Chef Margaret Chisholm, includes Bishop’s alumni chefs Michael Allemeier, Wendy Boys, Adam Busby, Andrea Carlson, Claire May, Ron Shaw and Jeff VanGeest. Legendary Vancouver caterer, and Les Dames d’Escoffier member, Chef Lesley Stowe will be contributing her famed “Death by Chocolate” which she created for Bishop’s. The host chef for the evening is Ned Bell, Executive Chef Four Seasons Hotel and YEW Restaurant & Wine Bar.
The evening starts with a champagne reception, hosted by Moet Chandon.
Wine has also played a pivotal role at Bishop’s. As the BC wine industry grew up alongside the restaurant John offered the very best of the local vintages alongside some of the world’s best old world wines. Wines for the evening include Domaine Chandon, Benjamin Bridge, Blue Mountain Estate, CedarCreek Estate, Leeuwin Art Series, Mission Hill Family Estate, Spierhead, Poggio al Tufo, Marques de Riscal, Tinhorn Creek, Layer Cake, Painted Rock, Lake Sonoma, Decero, Montresor and Marlborough.
Tickets are priced at $325 per person and seating is limited. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets now! All funds raised go to support the outreach and scholarship programs of the BC Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, including Project Chef and Growing Chefs.
This year’s theme, ‘Into the Garden with John’, pays tribute to John Bishop’s pivotal role in changing the way Canadian chefs prepare meals. Back in 1985, when Bishop opened his eponymous restaurant on West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano, farm-fresh ingredients and the 100-mile diet were no more known than arugula. Ingredients generally came from one giant supplier to restaurants while convenience and processed ingredients were the mainstays of Canadian kitchens. Inspired by Alice Waters (Les Dames d’Escoffier member, San Francisco Chapter) in Berkley, Bishop vowed to change that and embarked on a new style of restaurant, one that worked closely with farmers to grow for him and where the menu reflected what was available locally and in season. He truly was the chef who first sowed the seeds of this city’s culinary transformation.
Farmers Gary and Natty King, long time suppliers and friends, of Hazelmere Organic Farm and Susan Davidson of Glorious Garnish & Seasonal Salad Company were just some of the collaborators growing for Bishop’s. Fish was from our oceans, beef from local ranches and fruit was preserved at the peak of their ripeness for plates well into the winter.
Without John, fine dining in Vancouver would not be where it is today and where, in 1985, the idea of farm to table dining was literally ‘ground-breaking’, today it is rare for a chef not to work with local ingredients. “Chef Bishop changed the way we eat and how we cook,” says Les Dames d’Escoffier BC Chapter President, Stephanie Jaeger. “His collaboration with the Kings and their farm started a culinary revolution.”
Another legacy of John’s is the people who have been trained and mentored by him, many who have gone on to shape BC’s restaurant industry. Vikram Vij, VIJ’s, Rangoli, Vij’s Railway Express, Shanik; My Shanti, Vij’s at Home; Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart, The Abbey; The Sardine Can, La Buca, Commissary, Pied-a-Terre; Dennis Green, Avenue Grill, Barbara-Jo’s, Green Chef and pastry chef Dawn Gourley, Giovane Cafe & Bakery, Bel Café, Lucky’ s Donuts, are all alumni, as are the fine chefs participating in the dinner.
More about John Bishop
John opened Bishop’s just over 25 years ago in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver. An inaugural recipient of The Governor General’s National Table Award, Vancouver Magazine’s Chef of the Year and Cuisine Canada’s Edna Award for Lifetime Achievement, Bishop is the author of four books ( Simply Bishop’s; Fresh; Cooking at My House; Bishop’s) and the subject of the documentary film Deconstructing Supper.
About Les Dames d’Escoffier
Les Dames D’Escoffier is an international association of professional women dedicated to supporting the advancement of people in the hospitality and culinary domains as well as fostering industry excellence through educational and charitable activities. Each year the BC Chapter holds special events to raise funds in support of its local endeavors.