What: First, We Brunch book launch
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Munro’s Books, 1108 Government St.
Tickets: Free to attend
Any Victoria restaurant with a regular lineup of customers outside is most likely serving brunch. And there are many, says local author Rebecca Wellman.
“There is definitely a culture of people going out for brunch here,” said Wellman, who launches her book First, We Brunch: Recipes and Stories from Victoria’s Best-Loved Breakfast Joints this week at Munro’s Books. And, yes, there will be samples.
In 2016, Victoria was dubbed the “brunch capital of Canada” by the Food Network’s John Catucci, who hosts You Gotta Eat Here!
“We’re a casual town with high food standards,” said Wellman, over a Mexican-inspired eggs benny on potato latkes at The Village Restaurant in Oak Bay. “There was no shortage of things to write about.”
Wellman is not sure why there are so many excellent brunch and lunch joints here rather than fine-dining dinner spots.
“Maybe it’s an economic factor … one thing is, brunch is very social,” she said.
The food and lifestyle photographer was approached to write the book by Victoria publisher Touchwood Editions.
“I’ve already worked with a lot of the chefs and knew their fantastic menus and dishes,” said Wellman. She has also worked with the Food Network and took the photographs for Touchwood’s book Island Wineries of British Columbia and The Outlander Kitchen Cookbook for Random House — the official food companion to the hit historical novel and television series.
To research her new book, Wellman said, she “went out for brunch a lot” and organized the material in a way that would be useful to anyone interested in great food.
The book features dozens of the city’s best brunch spots, including those best for dining in or grabbing food on the go. Wellman covers options for every taste and diet, including vegan and gluten-free. She also includes a section on the brunch potluck.
“The type of foods reflect the values and interests of people here,” said Wellman, noting several restaurants are now sourcing ingredients from their own farms, such as 10 Acres Bistro and The Village, which gets greens for its three locations from its own planters, as well as local gardens and suppliers.
The featured restaurants range from well-known brunch spots, such as the Marina Restaurant and Jam Café, to other popular restaurants that have unique brunch menus, such as Northern Quarter and Zambri’s.
There are more than 60 recipes in the book, including brunch dishes and drinks from each of the restaurants.
Highlights include Be Love’s Autumn Benny with cashew hollandaise and roasted butternut squash rounds, the Herb Hudson Chicken Waffles with red currant jalapeño jelly from Floyd’s Diner, Mo:le’s red pepper polenta with eggs and fruit salsa and Relish’s rockfish congee.
Wellman also profiles some of the culinary key figures in town, such as Andrew Moyer, “the cheese expert” from Ottavio Bakery and Delicatessen; Cory Pelan, the “bacon expert” from the Whole Beast; and egg farmers Ian and Jan Woike from Farmer Ben’s Eggs.
“What I really love is how much of a community there is here, with chefs and suppliers working together,” Wellman said.