City solicits public input to help choose new Vancouver street-food venders
What kind of food would you like to see Vancouver street venders selling? The City of Vancouver is soliciting public opinion through an online forum. Anyone can put forth their ideas, or rate or comment on other people’s suggestions. Ideas over the past few days include Afghan kebabs, Caribbean roti, pierogies, and Egyptian kushari (a spicy rice/pasta/lentil dish that’s popular on the streets of Egypt).
Vision Vancouver city councillor Heather Deal explained to the Georgia Straight in a phone interview that the forum is part of the process for choosing 15 new food venders in 2012. Application information for the new venders went live on the city’s website last Friday (December 16). The city currently has 92 food venders on the streets, 38 of which were added in the last two years to expand the selection of the city’s street food beyond hot dogs.
"We heard from a lot of people last year who said that they wanted to have input," Deal said. “In part, it’s just for us to learn more about what people want….The feedback is very important to all of us because we want these venders to thrive."
Three members of the public who contribute to the forum will be randomly selected to take part in a new component of the application process: a taste-test of the finalists’ dishes.
Chashma Heinze, a street-food consultant with the city’s social policy department, explained the application process in a separate phone interview with the Straight. Information and applications for those interested in obtaining a street-food permit are now available on the city’s website, and this year’s selection process is similar to that of last year. Internal city staff will narrow applications down to 25 candidates, which will then be scored by a panel of eight food and business experts.
New this year, the finalists will provide samples of one menu item for 15 judges, made up of the latter panel, one elected city official, a chef from Vancouver Community College’s culinary arts program, two food critics, and the three members of the public who contributed to the forum.
According to the city’s application form, “the highest scoring application will have their first choice of location; the second highest score will have the second choice, and so on.”
Heinze noted that new applicants are encouraged to attend an information session on building a business plan, hosted by the City of Vancouver and Small Business BC, on January 11.
Applications will be accepted from January 9 until noon on February 3. The decision on who gets the permits will be made in early spring, and the new carts are expected to roll out by summer.
The public may contribute to the forum until midnight on January 22.
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