The Chefs for the Pier fundraiser brought in $100,000 to help with the reconstruction of White Rock’s iconic pier.
The $300-per-ticket event, which had guests dine on an assortment of dishes catered by a dozen prominent local chefs, was nearly sold-out.
The chefs were among the first to set foot inside the kitchen of the brand-new Oceana Parc (1575 George St.) where the event was held.
“We didn’t know what to expect for the event because it was our first time,” South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce executive director Ritu Khanna told Peace Arch News Wednesday. “It ended up being great on so many levels. Everyone had a great time, even the chefs said they had a great time.”
Participating chefs included CBC’s Dragons’ Den star and My Shanti owner Vikram Vij; Food Network’s Top Chef Canada winner Matthew Stowe and Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell.
“There was a diverse selection of offerings and the chefs really put their heart into it,” Khanna said. “Vikram talked about that, Chief Harley talked about that. The importance of when people cook, they put their heart and soul and attention into it.”
The event also featured a live auction, where the first and last plank of the pier were sold to Janzen Insurance and Ocean Promenade Hotel, respectfully.
Janzen Insurance bought the first plank for $6,500, and Ocean Promenade Hotel bought the last plank for $6,000.
Friends of the Pier has sold at least 100 planks – priced at $1,000 apiece – to raise money for the reconstruction of the pier. Each plank will carry the name of the donor.
Khanna said she has fielded questions about why the chamber was involved with the Chefs for the Pier event.
She said the event became a way to highlight Semiahmoo Peninsula chefs, including Chappell, who is a trained chef and whose first job was in a kitchen.
“Some of those businesses were hit really hard in the last few years. It was really great to have them part of this, to highlight them. It’s really important for me that we support and promote the businesses that we have.
”Really, I feel like, South Surrey/White Rock is being recognized as a culinary destination,” Khanna said.
She said there is a desire to host the event again next year.
“There’s so many other restaurants and chefs in our community that we didn’t have a chance to make part of this, who were either interested or weren’t available this time. I really hope that we can make it something annual.”
Chefs who participated in this year’s event also include Shaughn Halls (Oceana Parc), Jan Wait (Jan’s on the Beach), Kayla Dhaliwal (Glass House Estate Winery), Jennie Silk (Uli’s Restaurant), Josiah Tam (Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar), Brian Cho (Sapporo Kitchen), Soo Min Lee (Sapporo Kitchen), Joel Villanueva (Primo’s Mexican Grill), Christophe Bonzon (Chez Christophe) and Jeff Short (Sheila’s Catering).