This is where the worlds meet: East, West, past, future, global, local.
As in the beginning, there is a good egg in the kitchen at Vancouver’s Wild Rice.
On September 23, 2011, owner Andrew Wong was joined by a full house of loyal friends, customers and culinary almuni to celebrate Wild Rice’s 10th Anniversary. For a decade now, Wild Rice has thrive in the divide between cultures, cuisines and real estate developments at 117 W. Pender St. in Vancouver.
Ten years ago, together with like-minded industry friends Tom Poirier and Chef Stuart Irving, Wong opened a door to an uncommon table between multiple worlds in a neighbourhood few considered ideal at the time – so they made sure to craft a room that was worth the trip to a world unto itself: one designed with elements of feng shui and high style, the multi-tiered melding of curves, lines, mirrors and light and featuring a menu the likes of which Vancouver had never seen.
On the edge of everywhere, Wild Rice in its inception was an epicurean anomaly as well – a modern Chinese bistro featuring B.C ingredients. While the original line up changed the friendships and ethos remain fixed.
It is no exaggeration to say that the celebration was three generations in the making. Wong’s grandfather was one of the first Chinese property owners in in the neighbourhood, naming his claim next door on the corner at the Lotus Hotel; his father was an industry veteran too, spending 25 years as a professional server in the city. The gateway of Vancouver’s Chinatown remains a block to the East; the location was never in question.
Both on the plate and in real estate, Wild Rice has always been ahead of the curve.
Prior the primary festivities, a special five-course menu was shared, along with the announcement of Wild Rice 2 to open in December 2011 in the heart of the renovated Westminster Quay.
Once more, Wild Rice 2 can be expected to thrive up where least expected. This time around, Executive Chef Todd Bright is the one with a stake in the developing neighbourhood. Just as Wong lives within winking distance of Wild Rice in the heart of Vancouver, Chef Bright made the move to New Westminster a while back. Location may be everything in time as development proceeds along the waterfront; being present, is the key to being a bellwether.
Like Wong, Chef Bright is building bridges both on and off the plate.
The menu presented that night featured the touch of Wild Rice talent past and present and spoke volumes of the future.
Chef Ryan Mah (Goldfish)
Dungeness Crab w/ Daikon & Avocado Salad
Chef Stu Irving (Cobre)
Pork Belly w/ Crispy Rice Cakes & Pea Shoot Salad
Chef Heather Giles (Wild Rice)
Setan & Shiitake Lettuce Cups
Executive Chef Todd Bright
Alaskan Char w/ Jicama & Bitter Melon Wraps & XO Sauce
Chef Caroline Levy (Wild Rice 2)
Szechuan Pepper Mousse ‘Brownie’ w/ Caramelized Banana