Reservations have been made, events booked, and locals and visitors are luxuriating in delectable hotel deals and packages across the city. Yes, it's that time again: Tourism Vancouver's 13th annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival kicks off tomorrow, and this year's event is bigger and better than ever.
To date, the 2015 Dine Out numbers speak for themselves:
• 277 - record-breaking number of participating restaurants
• 29 - total number of hotels offering special packages and rates, including the all-new Club Amuse-Bouche Collection hotel packages
• 84 - total number of culinary events taking place during the festival
• 126 - total percentage increase in unique visitor traffic to www.dineoutvancouver.com on menu launch day over 2014
Kicking off the festival tonight is the Grand Tasting on Granville Island. And tomorrow is the second annual Chef Soup Experiment, where some 50 Dine Out chefs will convene on Granville Island and each toss one ingredient into a simmering pot. Over the next few hours, student chefs from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts will mind the brew, stirring and seasoning to perfection, and serve free samples to the public beginning at 12:30 pm (until the soup runs out). Culinary brilliance or hot mess? Come down to Granville Island and find out for yourself!
"Dine Out continues to be one of the city's most flavourful annual events, drawing more than 100,000 residents and visitors to experience Vancouver's vibrant and world-class culinary scene," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. "It's the best time of year to celebrate Vancouver's exceptional local culinary talent and diverse cuisine, and I look forward to another record-breaking year."
"Tourism Vancouver is thrilled with the overwhelming response this year's festival has received," said Lucas Pavan, festival coordinator. "In addition to restaurant reservations booking fast, we're also seeing locals and visitors opt for the all-new exclusive Club Amuse-Bouche hotel and event offerings, proving that in addition to drawing value-conscious diners, this year's Dine Out has been successful in reaching a broader audience: festival-goers craving premium culinary experiences that represent the best of Vancouver's food scene."
And don't forget to share your favourite Dine Out experiences via social media: the Dine Out For a Year contest encourages attendees to submit pictures and videos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Every day of the festival, one entrant chosen by festival organizers will win a gift certificate to a participating restaurant. At the end of the festival, a Grand Prize winner will be selected among all submitted entries to take home a whopping 52 gift certificates (one for each week of the year) to some of the city's top restaurants.
There's still time to book your Dine Out Vancouver Festival restaurant, event and hotel experiences at dineoutvancouver.com. Hurry! Tickets are going fast, but there is still availability for the following events:
• Six Course Discourse. Curated and emceed by Vancouver-based blogger Mijune Pak (Follow Me Foodie), this delectable discussion features six of Vancouver's top chefs - including David Hawksworth, Pino Posteraro, Angus An, Robert Clark, Taryn Wa and Thomas Haas - sharing all things culinary. Food and wine tastings included.
• Brunch Crawl. Curated by Vancouver blogger Richard Wolak (Vancouver Foodster), this series of tasting tours showcases Vancouver's brunch hotspots, each taking place in a different neighbourhood (Gastown, Kitsilano, Main Street, downtown Vancouver, the West End and Commercial Drive).
• The Grape Debate. Trends versus terroir: what should drive a winery's decisions? Join this wine-centric debate where top industry experts spar with facts and humour. Wine tastings included.