Bite draws out competitive side of local chefs

Reducing food to bite-sized portions, while ensuring the bite contains the right combination of flavours to please the palate, produces a gratifying culinary experience when it is done to perfection.

Reducing food to bite-sized portions, while ensuring the bite contains the right combination of flavours to please the palate, produces a gratifying culinary experience when it is done to perfection.

That’s the whole idea behind the 19th annual Bite of Nanaimo Gourmet Food Fair happening at Beban Park on Friday Oct. 21.

The annual TheatreOne fundraiser brings together foodies and chefs for an evening of sampling a variety of tasty treats, from sushi, raw food and Indian cuisine to vegetarian fare and family-style cooking. Vendors can pick up awards for their creations – and also customers.

“The competitive part of it is what drives the creativity of the participants,” said Nadine Wiepning, TheatreOne’s marketing and publicity manager.

“What they’re presenting is so small that it has to be perfect. You’re flavour condensing.”

For Ryan Zuvich, owner and chef at Markt Artisan Deli, creating that mouthwatering bite that brings people back for more comes from mixing the right flavours with the best possible ingredients – put together with a little attention and care, of course.

“Quality is going to speak volumes,” he said.

Senhsy Sy, manager of Mix Restaurant, said the chef has been working on the mini-meals for some time, trying to find a balance of flavours that works for everybody.

“Everybody’s taste buds are a little different,” he said.

New to the event – and new to Nanaimo – is Mix Restaurant, Rawmbas and Wolf Brewing Co. (formerly Fat Cat Brewery).

Longtime local favourite Amrikkos is also joining the event for the first time this year.

Weipning said TheatreOne staff are making the event more theatrical this year to reflect the organization it benefits – staff are dressing up in theatre costumes and Jeremy Banks, an actor from TheatreOne’s Emerging Voices series is one of the evening’s MCs.

Bite of Nanaimo also features live music, prize balloons and awards for vendors.

Tickets are $12 in advance only at all participating vendors, as well as Tourism Nanaimo and TheatreOne. Once at the event, $1 food and drink tickets are exchanged for sample-sized bites priced $1-5.

For more information, please go to http://www.theatreone.org.