Salish Sea Culinary Adventures

Last night, Richard and I attended Salish Sea Culinary Adventures. Through this program, culinary/hospitality students prepare and serve full-course, locally sourced meals. The Salish Sea encompasses Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands and the waters off of Vancouver, BC. Thus, these meals focus on local ingredients from both land and ocean.

 

Yesterday was a five-course dinner. During this three-hour event, we enjoyed exquisite dishes (shown below). At the end of the meal, student chefs and supervisors warmly engaged with participants, answered questions and shared culinary tips. This meal took three days to prepare.

 

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Optional Pre-Dinner Drink: Cranberry Mimosa with Rosemary
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Amuse Bouche: Gravlax, Scandinavian Dill Cured Salmon
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Salad Course: Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Cardamom Candied Hazelnuts
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Fish Course: Gnocchi with Smoked Sturgeon, Pine and Chanterelle Mushrooms
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Main Course: Ten-Hour Turkey Breast. Quince Glaze, Brussel Sprouts and a Trio of Carrots
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Dessert: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Spiced Apple Compote

For a fraction of the cost of a comparable restaurant meal, we were able to experience mouth-watering local cuisine, meet new (and adventurous) people, support our community and have a unique evening out.

If you live in the area, remaining sessions for this season take place during the afternoons of November 15 and 26. Although only places on the waiting list currently remain, I highly recommend signing up. You never know when new seats may become available!

If you live out of town (or out of country/continent), do you have a similar culinary program near you? Please share!

More information on Salish Sea Culinary Adventures and other Vancouver Island University offerings can be found here.

 

 

80 Replies to “Salish Sea Culinary Adventures”

  1. Hi Donna! That sounds like such fun AND such good food. Of course, when we were at the beach last month our friends there invited us to something similar…and when we didn’t go we later learned that it wasn’t as wonderful as hoped. Our friends decided that perhaps later in the culinary school year would be best. Either way, it is a wonderful way to support your community. ~Kathy

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    1. Hi, Kathy – Awesome to hear from you. I’m sorry that the culinary event in your area did not go as hoped. The one last night was truly splendid. It was prepared by first and second-year student chefs, under the close supervision of local professional chefs. I cannot imagine it tasting better if all of the chefs had been seasoned professionals. Richard and I will attend again next month (for lunch). I will keep you posted on how it goes! BTW – How is the “is it too early for planning” accommodation ranking coming?

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  2. Hi Donna if only that had been on when we visited you and Richard! I miss you and Vancouver but your photos allowed me to join you again for a virtual dinner. The students did a fabulous job and your photos are good enough for a cookbook. You live in a beautiful part of the world, my friend. Xx

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    1. Hi, Georgia – I’m glad to hear that Okanagan College has a similar program. VIU also allows participants to bring their own wine for a small corkage fee. I love win-win opportunities like these events. Are you in Palm Desert now?

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  3. It all looks delicious Donna – and you obviously had a great time. We have a restaurant attached to our local TAFE (tertiary college) where those studying cooking and waiter-ing (not sure what the right terms are!) get to practice their skills – the food’s always good and much cheaper than a restaurant too.

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    1. Hi, Leanne – I agree that it’s a definite win-win! This food program also has a restaurant attached to it that the public can attend on a more regular basis. Salish Sea Adventures began as a private initiative amongst foodie friends who wanted to explore meals that were 90%+ locally sourced. When this initiative became too large to be held in private homes, it was taken over by the college. Another win-win! 😀

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  4. Hi Donna – I remember those temptations … they are wonderful … and I love the community spirit on the Island. The Vancouver Island University has incredible opportunities available. The food looks too delicious – even at breakfast time! So pleased you had a brilliant time … looks like it … cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi, Hilary – VIU does offering a diverse range of interesting opportunities to our community. This season I’ve signed up for courses in Natural Medicine, Travel Writing, Meditation, Philosophy, Mahjong and two Culinary Adventures. A bit over the top…I know! 😀

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  5. Sounds delicious! In Oshawa we have Bistro 67 which is the training school for Durham College. It also has a massive garden of fresh vegetables which it uses on its menu. We have sat in the restaurant and watched bunnies feasting on the fresh vegetables too! Recently I read that Bistro 67 was chosen to be one of the top 50 restaurants in Canada.

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  6. That meal looks delicious, Donna! Something else to check into when I move here 😁. Landed in Nanaimo yesterday and we are going whale watching today. Very excited to be meeting up with you and Erica (and Jude maybe?) on Thursday!!! 💕

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  7. OMG! I am loving your foodie adventures. We have The CIA (Culinary Institute of America) a daytrip away and I have always wanted to try it out. Inspired!

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  8. I’ve read about similar private farm to table events in my neck of the woods in lush California farming country – the California Coast and in the Sonoma/Napa wine country that are wildly popular and hard to get a ticket for. I’m with you – simply sign up and maybe luck may spin your way. Unfortunately I have not had the pleasure (yet) of attending such an event. But I agree that they are not only a great way to meet and break bread with other people in a communal setting, but it’s a chance to also support local growers, farmers, dairies, fishermen and that’s a huge plus.

    The dishes in your photos look fabulous! Well done – the writing, photography, eating, and drinking. 😉

    Susan Grace

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  9. You captured the food fabulously, Donna! Not an easy thing to do photographically! You should offer those photos to the school for their website! We have a couple of culinary schools in our area but I have never heard of them cooking for guests!

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  10. We have something similar attached to our local culinary school. We’ve gone a few times. I am always amazed at the amount of food you get (courses are small but so many!). I am stuffed and often have to take my dessert home. It’s a win-win all the way around. Love your pictures! Amazing food.

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    1. Hi, Anabel – Last night’s dinner was a special event that is distinct from the school’s regular restaurant program. The cost was 33.00 CDN per person including taxes. Sign up took place well in advance. It was TOTALLY worth it! 😀

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  11. Wow, that looks like so much fun! I am afraid my husband would not like any of those things except the turkey but I’d be willing to try them all. We don’t have anything like that here, although the Chamber of Commerce had what they called “Tastes of San Bruno” and the local eateries all get together and share their dishes so you can sample different things for a flat $25.

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  12. Looks good!! I’ve been to such a dinner, by invitation only, prepared by students at a local culinary school. They were so professional, the food was tasty, and the presentation was perfect!

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  13. Those offerings look super professional and delicious Donna! Yes we have such food evenings paired with wine for each course, the chef explaining the why’s what’s and wherefore’s. Happens all over South Africa. Such a fun way to spend an evening. South Africans LOVE their food 😀

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  14. This looks like such a fun event, Donna, and supportive to the student chefs and the supervisors. I am glad you took photos. Pleasing to the eye and to the palate.🙂

    We used to attend this type of culinary event in Prince George and in Victoria. When we moved to Prince George, we sat at a table with a couple we met there for the first time. We then found out they lived one block from us. That was about 40 years ago. We are still really good friends with them. And they now live in Victoria.

    Your post is a good reminder to investigate the culinary school in Victoria (if there is still one?) It was so popular many years ago, that you had to enter a draw for tickets to the dinners.

    A lot to be thankful for this weekend and all year! 💕

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  15. Five courses??!!! Good G-d, I’d need to be wheeled out in a wheel barrow. But it all sure looked good, Donna. Agreed: you are indeed a really good food photographer. But do ask Richard to snap you with the next cocktail when it’s completely full. 😉 – Marty

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    1. Hi, Marty – I thought the same about that ‘glass half full’ pic!! It was actually snapped by a lady who was sitting across from me, so Richard is off the hook on this one. I had paced myself during that dinner, so I was only ‘slightly over full’ by the end of the evening. But tonight….ah that was a traditional Thanksgiving Feast! I am now desperately seeking the ‘after-dinner couch,’ and the ‘after-dinner blanket,’ so that I can lie around and moan! 😀

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  16. What a lovely event (and great photography)! Before I retired, I managed a commercial demonstration kitchen. We hosted chef competition events once or twice a year and I was often able to be one of the judges… yum! Now, it looks like I need to search for an event like you attended in our area. You reminded me how wonderful eating a well-prepared, several-course meal like that is.

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  17. Donna, that looks amazing! My favorite kind of evening… good food and good conversation. We do have something similar locally, but it brings in wine pairings for each course (with the slightly higher $ associated with that). We have not done one because Tim doesn’t really drink. However, a girlfriend recently asked if a group of ladies might be interested… so hoping to do one in the near future.

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  18. Oh wow. As you can probably imagine, this sounds right up my alley. I can taste that beet and goat’s cheese salad and, believe it or not, have never had pumpkin as anything other than a savoury course…but would love to give it a go!

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  19. What a mouthwatering experience, Donna! And, you live in a wonderfully diverse area of the world to be treated to locally sourced dishes like that. If I were to live in one particular area, and that area would have these culinary student events, we would certainly sign up and try it one year! Yum! 🙂

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  20. Your local community sounds very energetic Donna and supportive. The trainees need critical feedback and this way it sounds like they get to answer questions and take comments. I love the idea! Good on you and Richard for being so encouraging. Also Happy Birthday for today from Australia! xx

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  21. What a pretty meal. Each course was like a work of art. Makes me feel downright embarrassed to think the way we eat at home, pots and pans on the stove, filling our plates by slapping the food onto them, paper napkins and plastic ‘glasses’ for our Kool-aid! Yikes. I do a little better for Thanksgiving. Ha! Glad you had such a pleasant night out.

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  22. Mmmm, the food looks mouthwatering. We used to attend similar dinners hosted by the culinary program at Northwest Community College. The food was always very good. My only complaint was that I always ate too much as the food just kept coming and was to delectable to pass up.

    Jude

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  23. Donna, we have a culinary institute about an hour away in West Palm Beach. I have been there a couple of times for cooking classes (and tastings), but it can be pricey. I learned how to cook a no fail, perfect temperature beef tenderloin that has become my ‘go to’ company meal, so for me it was worth the price. That beet salad looks like something I would enjoy and the single serving pumpkin cheesecake is beautifully presented. What a nice experience for you guys.

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    1. Hi, Suzanne – It’s wonderful to learn a signature dish. I don’t believe that I oould recreate any of the dishes that we were served. I did steal the idea of the rosemary and cranberry garnish for mimosas. The garnish was a bit hit at Thanksgiving Dinner! 🙂

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