A new venue but the same fantastic party at Big Night 2013
With some of the biggest chefs in Vancouver serving dishes created especially for this event it is continuously a unique and mouth-watering experience. I wasn't surprised to discover that many of the guests have attended Big Night since the inception including Sharon, who is a long-time friend of Vikram Vij.
There was one major change to the event this year, and that was a change of venue. In the past it was held at the Vancouver Club, with this year's event being hosted by Jewel Ballroom. This was only my second year at the event so I was less affected than others by the new location.
Jewel Ballroom provided an ample amount of breathing room and a simple inner and outer circle layout, which ultimately made for a better experience for guests. However, I preferred the elegance that the Vancouver Club offered with its foyer and winding staircase to the main floor, compared to the elevator at Jewel Ballroom and the chandeliers hanging from a "classroom style" tiled ceiling. These difference are definitely not a game-changer as in the end it is the sensible layout, easy navigation and comfortable air flow that wins, and in this regard Jewel Ballroom takes the cake. The event ended a huge success that will most likely sell out again next year and will have those regulars anxiously awaiting the next one.
Interested in what the chefs prepared and what wines they were paired with? Eat your heart out.
Modern steak tartare
Wine pairing: Painted Rock Estate Syrah 2009
Blue Water Café + Raw Bar
Pacific octopus and Berkshire pork belly with pickled persimmon and smoked sunchoke chestnut puree
Wine pairing: Evans & Tate Metricup Road Chardonnay 2009
Cactus Club Café
Braised lamb shoulder and caramelized onion ravioli, creamed spinach, oven dried tomato, truffle lamb jus
Wine pairing: Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico 2008
Tongue and cheek terrine, red pepper and almond pesto, saffron sauce
Wine pairing: Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2008
Dungeness crab, dashi custrad, cashew, yuzu
Wine pairing: Devil's Lair Margaret River Chardonnay 2009
Pineapple and spice galette, caramel macarons
Wine pairing: Mission Hill Family Estate Riesling Icewine 2011
Memphis Blues BBQ
Mini pulled pork brioche with coleslaw and Carolina mustard sauce
Wine pairing: Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne
South Indian style coconut vegetables on basmati rice
Wine pairing: Marqués de Cáceres Rosado 2011
Smoked sablefish croquette
Wine pairing: González Byass Nutty Solera Oloroso
Pithivier of Apple, Cheddar, and Smoked Ham and Rabbit
Wine pairing: La Chablisienne Chablis La Pierrelée 2010
Saffron Risotto with Bone Marrow, topped with a Baja Prawn, served with Foie Gras on a Torcheon Toast
Wine pairing: 2011 Red Rooster Riesling
My favorites of the night were Cactus Club's sumptuous ravioli, Blue Water's immaculately prepared octopus and pork belly, Pied-à-Terre's flaky plithivier and Thierry's addicting desserts.
My favorite wines were Mission Hills 2011 Reserve Riesling Icewine,
Painted Rock's 2009 Estate Syrah 2009, 2011 Red Rooster Riesling and Castello Di Gabbiano's 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva.
Milano Coffee had a booth at Big Night as well, with staff eager to perk guests up with an espresso or macchiato after two hours of drinking and eating. It was my much enjoyed palate cleanser, that unfortunately kept me up until the wee hours of the night.
As they do every year, Les Dames BC hosted a raffle to benefit their organization and the programs they support. This year they raffled a “Dame Dinner of a Lifetime”, which includes a dinner for eight prepared in the winner's home by a Dame Chef and her crew, along with a magnum of Champagne and paired wines.
For more photos check out my Big Night 2013 set on Flickr.