It has been nine years since the Juno Awards were last hosted in Vancouver, and many things have changed in the city since then—including the culinary scene. When members of the Canadian music industry begin to descend into town ahead of the 47th annual Juno Awards ceremony, which takes place at Rogers Arena on March 25, the relatively new Parq Vancouver resort complex (39 Smithe Street) and its roster of restaurants and bars will aim to satisfy the appetites of musicians.
Parq is the host hotel for this year’s Junos, and it has created a special menu for the annual awards ceremony’s welcome reception (March 23)—an invite-only star-studded event. Artists and performers like Michael Bublé, Arcade Fire, Daniel Caesar, Lights, Shawn Hook, Diana Krall, DJ Felix Cartal, and the Barenaked Ladies will get to feast on a range of gourmet bites.
Elizabeth Blau is the founder and CEO of Blau and Associates, the company behind a large part of the culinary and libation offerings at Parq. “They definitely will be eating some beautiful Canadian Angus beef, which my husband [Kim Canteenwalla, principal and managing director of Blau and Associates] and the chefs at the Victor [one of the restaurants at Parq] have turned into these cheesesteak sliders,” Blau told the Straight in an interview at the resort. “They will also have a selection of sushi. [From] Honey Salt [another in-house restaurant], we thought it would be really fun to do the bounty of what’s coming in season in B.C. now.”
The cheesesteak sliders that Blau is talking about are no ordinary feature: they are made with roasted prime strip loin, charred onion and peppers, and black-truffle cheese sauce. Other foods that will be served to the musical acts are aburi (flame-seared) salmon sushi, spicy tuna rolls, charcoal-roasted beets and turnips, and cauliflower hummus, among other tasty nibbles.
“These are items on the regular menu that have been adapted,” Blau explained. “It’s all tasting stations, [and] they’ll get to come to the stations and talk to the chefs. [We’re] trying to give a little flavour of the restaurants themselves.”
The JW Marriott Parq Vancouver culinary team will also be putting together an assortment of delicious bites for the Junos reception. Attendees will be trying everything from smoked salmon (served on rice crackers and garnished with edible flowers) to heirloom-tomato tartare (with basil cream cheese) to cashew-chicken lollipops (with chili and sticky tamarind glaze). An ice-cream cart will also be available, scooping out flavours like salted caramel, raspberry, and double-chocolate fudge.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a partnership like this before at the Junos,” Allan Reid, president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), the Juno Awards, and MusiCounts, told the Straight in an interview at Parq. “What you’re seeing is such an elevated cuisine. The welcome and chairman’s receptions have always had nice food before, but what Parq has created here is honestly exceptional.
“I’m excited about when the industry gets here. We’ve never had a facility like this for the Junos, where we can take over the entire hotel—and have access to eight restaurants, bars, and lounges—that is right next to the facility,” Reid added. “They can just walk over to Rogers Arena for the Junos.”
Just because we didn’t get an invite to the party doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in the same things that the Junos insiders will be eating. The restaurants and bars at the Parq, where avocado-crunch rolls and sweet-potato chips can be found, are open for business.
And maybe the cheesesteak sliders will be popular enough to make it onto the Victor’s regular menu so Vancouverites can eat just like the famous.More