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In mid September, members of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America met in Vancouver for their annual conference. It was their first visit to our city, which has only recently taken an active role in Dirona, a U.S.-based arbiter of excellence recognizing fine-dining rooms based on anonymous judge visits. For the occasion, conference chair Pino Posteraro of Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill in Yaletown nominated 21 restaurants to join the association, including, for the first time, a pâtisserie and a cooking school. Those weren’t his only tweaks. At events and discussions throughout the gathering, he steered delegates-many of them representing America’s more staid, Old World rooms-toward new ways of understanding quality and excellence.
Both were in ample evidence at the closing gala dinner. A seven-course meal, each over-the-top plate prepared by a different Vancouver chef, mirrored Posteraro’s insistence that to meet the needs of a changing clientele, restaurant owners and chefs must move with the times. There was white linen (a point of much discussion-can’t we eat well without linen?), but there were also students of Vancouver Community College among those serving the food and wine. As he pointed out over dinner, theirs is the generation affected by our decisions today to embrace, or not, innovation. (We put Posteraro and others to the test in our Eating & Drinking section by asking them to name the next great chefs.)
Those Dirona delegates face a new, uncertain future in their industry, and they’re not alone. To stay relevant, we must all figure out what we do best, and flaunt those abilities. That’s the conceit behind this issue’s “Made in Vancouver” package, which celebrates visionaries who have found their groove and are pushing excellence in health, the arts, technology, and dating intel out to the region and beyond. Their vision is helping define and brand us for the larger world.
Speaking of rebranding (and staid Old Worlders learning new tricks), the Non-Partisan Association gets a visit from Frances Bula (“Is the Party Over?”) to talk about how president Peter Armstrong might reboot his party a year ahead of the next election. Can our GOP channel Marpole frustration into a return to power? Change is in the air.