This is the weekend for food lovers on the West Shore, as the Fifth Annual Food Fest comes to Fort Rodd Hill on Sunday, June 10.
Put on by the Island Chefs’ Collaborative, the festival is a chance for the public to sample the culinary delights of some of the finest chefs on the West Coast. Once inside, visitors will be able to sample a wide variety of dishes, while learning about local food sustainability.
Colwood resident John Brooks is a chef at barbecue joint Smoken Bones Cookshack, which started in Langford before relocating to downtown Victoria. Brooks will run the pork tent at the food fest. They’re doing their take on poutine using potatoes from Madrona Farms in Saanich and pork from Two Rivers Meats in Vancouver, with a side salad made of locally grown beets and apples.
“It’s a great day. Getting to cook outside is always fun,” Brooks said. “There’s lots of people, lots of my peers, lots of other chefs there that I don’t get to see all the time. It’s just a fun day.”
Beyond the fun and the food, Brooks believes it’s important to recognize and support local farmers. Doing so supports the local economy and helps ensure food is available – especially important on an island that could find itself cut off from outside food sources.
“Hopefully (visitors) get their full belly, a smile on their face and a little education on what it is that we do,” Brooks said. “And maybe a chance for them to learn more about the local farms they have around them.”
Towards that end, the event aims to teach guests about growing food, composting organic material, harvesting seafood, supporting local food initiatives and other activities related to food sustainability.
As part of the event, the collaborative is awarding a $5,000 micro-loan, interest free, to Saltspring Sunrise Premium Edibles, a company that produces organic edible oils and flours. The chefs partnered with non-profit FarmFolk CityFolk and VanCity bank to offer the sponsorship.
Any profits from Food Fest tickets sales will go into future micro-loans to help companies that promote local food production.
Tickets for the event are $50 for adults and $25 for youths. Tickets are available at Cook Culture at the Atrium, Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen, Westshore Chamber of Commerce or The Whole Beast.