A Recap on PICA Kitchen Party from Vancouver International Wine Festival

In addition to the Grand Tasting, I have also attended two other events hosted by the Vancouver International Wine Festival, and one of them the PICA Kitchen Party, my favourite event of all. It was held at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) at Granville Island. It features international wines, paired with small bites prepared by top Vancouver chefs from various restaurants.

The PICA Kitchen Party is co-hosted by the embassies and consulates from Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and the United States. Lucky for Yuki and I, it was a sunny day, which makes Granville Island the best place to explore after the event. The party started at 11:30 am on Saturday, and it was a 2-hour long event.

Marques de Riscal Rosato 2018

Every guest is assigned a number at the entrance, and that’s the kitchen we start from. We were greeted with a glass of champagne – Marques de Riscal Rosato 2018. Make sure to hold on to your glass because that is for your wine glass during the party.

As usual, guests are free to drink wine and taste food as they wish. We went back to some kitchens multiple times to get second bites and wine pairing.

Bodegas Juan Gil Kentia Albarino 2018

We started at Kitchen 5 with a personal chef, Jefferson Alvarez, featuring a beautifully presented bite-size snack, Foie Gras Sablée, paired with Bodegas Juan Gil Kentia Albariño 2018.

Foie Gras Sablee

Kitchen 6 is prepared by Chef Lucais Syme from AutostradaShort Rib Arancini, paired with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Cosmic Egg Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. This is one of my favourite dish, and we went back to savour on the biggest piece left in the kitchen at the end.

Short Rib Arancini, paired with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Cosmic Egg Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Kitchen 1 is hosted by Chef Ken Nakano from Shanghai-la Hotel, featuring Wagyu Beef Cheek, paired with Michael David Winery Petite Petit 2017. My second favourite dish of the event goes to this one, which the beef cheek is tender and juicy.

Wagyu Beef Cheek
Michael David Winery Petite Petit 2017

Kitchen 2 is prepared by Chef Sean Reeve from Say Mercy. The dish is delicate with many elements in just one bite – Crispy Sunchoke & Smoked Pork Rillette, paired with Segura Viudas Gran Cuvée Réserva DO Cava NV.

Crispy Sunchoke & Smoked Pork Rillette

Kitchen 3 is by Chef Sean Murray from Pan Pacific HotelSmoked Sunshine Coast Sturgeon, paired with Marisco Vineyards The King’s Thorn Pinot Gris 2018.

Smoked Sunshine Coast Sturgeon
Marisco Vineyards The King’s Thorn Pinot Gris 2018

Last but not least, kitchen 4 features two dishes. One from Chef Ian McHale from WildebeestChicken Liver & Foie Gras Parfait, paired with Jackson Family Wines: Oregon Penner-Ash Willamette Pinot Noir 2017.

Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Parfait

The other one is from Chef Brian Luptak from PICA – Caramelized Haida Gwaii Kelp & Toasted Oat Crisp, paired with Angove Family Winemakers Warboys Single Vineyard McLaren Vale Grenache 2017.

Caramelized Haida Gwaii Kelp & Toasted Oat Crisp

We ended our events with some desserts prepared by PICA.

Overall Impression

Time went past so fast at this event. PICA Kitchen Party allowed me to try dishes from restaurants I have never tried. It was great to have conversations with chefs and other guests, which is also a rare opportunity for me. So now it came down to the same question: is this event worth $99? Yes, especially for people who love wine more than me! I didn’t drink much wine, but I ate quite a bit. Each small plate is prepared in front of you, and chefs use high-quality ingredients and amazing techniques. I am certain you won’t get disappointed from this event.


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