A crowd of Victorias finest chefs turned out in force for a culinary celebration at Spinnakers brewpub Tuesday. They came for the launch of Flavours of the West Coast, Touchwood Editions colourful cookbook inspired by the Cedarwood-produced TV series that airs on CHEK TV Mondays at 9:30 p.m. and Fridays at 4 p.m.Hosted by award-winning chef Steve Walker-Duncan, with input from rookie celebrity chefs, the show that celebrates local, sustainable and healthy food on culinary journeys around B.C. is now in its third season.The London Chefs Dan Hayes, Vancouver Island Salt Companys Andrew Shepherd and The Zero Mile Diet author Carolyn Herriot were just a few of the culinary wizards there whose recipes are featured in the book.The dozens of foodies who enjoyed Spinnakers harbourside views, artisan beers and wine, and tasty gourmet fare included authors, athletes, musicians, media personalities and sommeliers, many featured as guest chefs.This room is bristling with talent, exclaimed producer Karen Davies, who co-founded Cedarwood with husband Dai Davies.Everybodys here because of their love of B.C. and its local, sustainable food. Its been an honour and so exciting to do a show that brings together people with so much talent and enthusiasm.Familiar faces included Olympic gold medalist Adam Kreek, developer Ken Mariash, CBC Radios Quirks and Quarks host Bob McDonald, FortisBCs Bob Anderson and Dutch Robinson, the New York-born R&B legend who recently relocated to Vancouver.Beaming positive vibes, the straw-hatted singer (whose credits include Marvin Gaye tributes and singing in Cirque du Soleils Alegria and Zumanity shows) wowed the crowd with jaw-dropping versions of Stand By Me and his own My House.It was freaky to find out they actually played it, Robinson said, reminiscing about how his version of Over the Rainbow with the Ohio Players was played at Judy Garlands funeral.Robinson, 66, hinted we might hear him sing while hes cooking ratatouille with a twist on Mondays episode.Noting Flavours of the West Coast is telling a story about how we eat, Spinnakers owner Paul Hadfield said he was happy to have Walker-Duncan come into their open kitchen and play with fire.The shows host and Spinnakers chef Ali Ryan dazzled the crowd with a dramatic flambÃ© demonstration involving the pubs Hefeweizen wheat beer, garlic, caramelized onions and steamed mussels.I know people say its a waste of good beer, but its worth it in the end, quipped Walker-Duncan as he ignited the flames.Inspired by recipes in the book, Ryans tasting menu included pickled figs with tostadas, fried rabbit croquettes with blueberries, beet hummous with artisan crackers and beer scones with blackberry preserve.Hadfield said the culinary celebration was consistent with why he came here 30 years ago to make artisan beer.Were dealing with artisan foods, the publican said. Its the connection between people and the food of their region that defines who the people are as a culture, as opposed to globalization of the past 50 years. Were going back to the farm gates.Walker-Duncan admitted to being overwhelmed when he looked around a room full of people he has worked with.Weve done something that I think matters, he said. It will hopefully inspire people to do better whether purchasing or growing their own food, or sourcing products from where they know their food comes from.
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