Made in Vancouver Awards: Meet Our Food Judge

Joanne Sasvari loves a good vintage cocktail and early mornings at Granville Island Public Market.

Joanne Sasvari loves a good vintage cocktail and early mornings at Granville Island Public Market.

Joanne Sasvari is a Vancouver-based food, drink, travel and lifestyle writer, and the editor of Vitis, The Alchemist and Westcoast Homes and Design magazines, and is also the author of The Wickaninnish Cookbook, Vancouver Eats and the website’s also our head Food judge at the Made in Vancouver Awards this year—covering everything from canned tomato sauce to fine chocolates. For more about this judge with a eye (and palate!) for all things food, read below.

Your go-to cocktail

The Vieux Carré: a once-lost and recently rediscovered New Orleans classic of rye whisky, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and both Angostura and Peychauds bitters, stirred, on ice.

Favourite run at Whistler

I head straight to après, thanks.

Perfect Vancouver spot

Granville Island Public MarketGranville Island Market early on a weekday morning.

Best place for a drink on a Tuesday night

Bacchus Lounge at the Wedgewood HotelAny of the great hotel lounges for well-made cocktails and a lively after-work mix of locals and visitors.

Vancouverite you most want to meet

The person who used to dress up the lions on the Lions Gate Bridge. We miss your quirky sartorial sense!

A hidden gem more Vancouverites should know about

Sons of Vancouver DistilleryThe tiny tasting room/cocktail lounge at Sons of Vancouver Distillery in North Van—be sure to look for the secret tiki list in the menu pocket.

The perfect treat-yourself day

A day in the country! I’d hop in the car and mosey on out to the Fraser Valley to check out the farm markets. I’d take the back roads, stopping for some cheese here and some berries there. I’d visit the wineries, craft breweries, kitchen stores, a bakery or two, and maybe swing by one of the cool new restaurants for a bite to eat. Bonus: I’d come home with a carload of delicious things to eat and cook later on, too.

Perfect hangover food?

McChicken sandwich, greasy and bland, perfect for soaking up bad decisions.

What do you think makes Vancouver’s food scene stand out?

The fact that our scene is so young means our chefs and food artisans aren’t bound to any hidebound rules about “authenticity.” We have some impressive talents here, and they’re free to be as creative and innovative as they want. When you combine that creativity with exceptional local ingredients, our east-meets-west cultural traditions, and an increasingly food-savvy populace, it’s a recipe for a truly dynamic culinary scene.

How has the food scene shifted over time here?

It has shifted dramatically, and in a very short time. Not so long ago, dining in Vancouver basically meant British dining. Now it’s—I don’t want to say fusion, because that has negative connotations, so let’s call it a mélange—a vibrant and exciting coming together of influences from all over the world that results in a distinctly Vancouver cuisine. Of course, our embrace of fresh, clean, sustainable local ingredients is a huge part of that, too, and you can’t ignore the explosive growth in terrific wineries, craft breweries and distilleries. It’s a great time to be eating and drinking in Vancouver!

Are you a local foodie with something cool (and Vancouver-made!) to share? Enter our Made in Vancouver Awards by February 15!