LOCAL CULINARY STUDENT RECEIVES LEGACY BURSARY HONOURING PROLIFIC VANCOUVER FOOD WRITER AND RESTAURANT COMMUNITY ADVOCATE
Canada’s Great Kitchen Party Vancouver paid tribute to the life of Andrew Morrison and his memorable contributions to the Canadian culinary community.James Chatto presents inaugural Andrew Morrison Memorial Award to Sara Lee, Photo Anjali Spooner.Vancouver, B.C., November 24, 2022—The city’s culinary elite gathered en masse last Thursday night to attend Vancouver’s edition of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party. As the last of nine regional qualifiers held across the country for the Canadian Culinary Championship, this prestigious event is equally focused on fundraising to provide accessible opportunities for young Canadians to achieve excellence in their pursuits of sport, music, and food. The late and dearly loved Vancouver food writer Andrew Morrison, co-founder of Scout Magazine, played a key role in Canada’s Great Kitchen Party for 14 years. To kick off the evening’s celebrations, national Kitchen Party lead judge James Chatto took the podium to honour the significant impact of Andrew’s life and announce the creation of the Andrew Morrison Memorial Award in his name.“With ineffable charm and an impeccable palate, Andrew was brilliant in this role,” attested James. “His sense of fair play was unimpeachable and he was far more firm and resolute when chefs tried to get away with mayhem than some of us soft-hearted fools.”
Andrew and his wife Michelle Sproule launched Scout Magazine in 2008, the preeminent online guide to what’s new and good in Vancouver. A year prior, James enthusiastically invited Andrew to be the Vancouver senior judge for Gold Medal Plates (now known as Canada’s Great Kitchen Party), a role he shared with wine and food expert and educator Sid Cross. Andrew was a beloved member of the Kitchen Party team and held the position until he passed away in 2021. He revelled in the challenge: impartially judging events and passionately sharing his knowledge and honest feedback with regional chefs in Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna, and at the Canadian Culinary Championship.“Andrew always encouraged curiosity,” shares Michelle. “One of the biggest thrills of his role as a food writer and publisher was to see learning in action, particularly in a kitchen environment between established and emerging talents. He would be proud to have his name attached to a bursary that supports a deserving student in the culinary program at Vancouver Community College.”With an audience of well over 500 guests plus 100s of chefs, judges, and volunteers, the inaugural 2022 Andrew Morrison Memorial Award was presented on stage to Vancouver Community College culinary arts student, Tsai Rung “Sara” Lee. This bursary further bolsters Andrew’s legacy of championing small independent restaurants and rising stars in the culinary industry, and will be awarded each year to a deserving culinary student from VCC.“Receiving this scholarship was a pleasant surprise, and really meaningful to me,” explains Sara. “It’s my honour to be chosen, and an affirmation of my efforts and the possibilities ahead.”“Sara always has a smile on her face and enjoys being challenged to flex her creative skills in the kitchen,” says Karen Gin, VCC Culinary Arts instructor. “Her ambition, positive attitude, and ability to focus are her strengths.”
In addition to the culinary competition and bursary presentation, funds were raised for two national beneficiaries and one Vancouver charity: Spirit North, empowering indigenous youth through sport and play; MusiCounts, providing musical instruments to schools; and Fresh Roots, growing schoolyard farms to cultivate meaningful connections between students and the food they eat.Local beneficiary Fresh Roots raised $8,400 in raffle-ticket sales alone.”We are thrilled and grateful to be the chosen regional charity,” shares Alexa Pitouis, Fresh Roots Executive Director. “We are proud to be part of an event where all of the competing chefs are champions of local and sustainable food systems. Fresh Roots exists to give kids opportunities to experience growing, preparing, sharing and celebrating good food which aligns so well with Canada’s Great Kitchen Party!”This year’s fundraising numbers are still being tallied from all nine 2022 Canada’s Great Kitchen Party events held in different cities across the country, not to mention the Canadian Culinary Championship yet to take place in Ottawa on February 3-4, 2023. The organization has raised over 17 million dollars to date, creating equally accessible opportunities for young Canadians to be extraordinary.
ABOUT CANADA’S GREAT KITCHEN PARTYCanada’s Great Kitchen Party is a social enterprise dedicated to “Building a Better Canada” through the elevation and celebration of Canadian excellence in the culinary arts, sport and music. Staged in nine cities across the country, each event is a regional culinary competition which qualifies the winning chefs to move on to compete at the Canadian Culinary Championship on February 3 and 4, 2023 in Ottawa. Chefs, athletes, musicians and business leaders all come together for a spectacular experience and to provide young Canadians the opportunity to be extraordinary through sport, music and food. We proudly contribute to the following beneficiaries: Spirit North, MusiCounts and Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society. As the largest exposition of Canadian wines, over 200 wineries and local breweries and spirit companies are profiled at our events. For more information, visit greatkitchenparty.com, and @greatkitchenparty on Instagram.