Hot summer nights call for dining outdoors at unrushed, sumptuous long-table dinners

Multicourse meals under the stars are taking place in downtown Vancouver, at UBC, and on Salt Spring Island

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      Summertime calls for dining outside, and while you can pretty up your own back yard with stringed lights and torches, it’s even better when someone else is doing the cooking.

      Now’s prime time for long table dinners. Here are a few worth reserving.

      UBC Farm holds one of two farm-to-table outdoor soirees this Thursday (July 13). Set in the farm’s Poplar Grove, the five-course dinner features seasonal ingredients grown right on site, prepared by UBC’s executive chef David Speight and the team at Scholar’s catering. (The second event takes place on August 11.)

      Proceeds from ticket sales ($80 plus GST) go toward research and programming at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm.

      For more than a decade, Outstanding in the Field has mounted memorable open-air dinners throughout B.C., with last year’s taking place at North Arm Farm in Pemberton. This year, it heads to Salt Spring Island’s Bullock Lake Farm, a 24-acre family-run operation specializing in organic produce, flowers, and pastured meats. Established in the late 1800s, it’s said to be one of the oldest agricultural properties on that Gulf Island.

      Leading the culinary charge is guest chef Phil Scarfone of Nightingale. Tickets for the event this Sunday (July 16) are US$215.

      Monthly outdoor long-table dinners at the Westin Bayshore's recently opened H2 Rotisserie and Bar come with views of the pool, Coal Harbour, and mountains.
      Westin Bayshore

      The Westin Bayshore recently relaunched its own long-table dinner series, now taking place at the recently opened H2 Rotisserie and Bar’s poolside garden terrace, with views of the North Shore mountains and Coal Harbour. Each five-course dinner features seasonal, sustainable ingredients, all paired with select BC wines.

      The July 5 dinner, under the direction of executive sous chef Mike Reid, showcased wines from Kelowna’s award-winning Sandhill Winery and dishes such as shellfish bisque with rye bread, crème fraiche, and salmon roe; beef tartare with spiced mustard, gherkin, and pickled shallot; stuffed morels with bone marrow, onion jus, and brioche; and Haida Gwaii Halibut with scallop, smoked-corn purée, and harissa.

      The next dinner happens on August 16, featuring wines from Okanagan Falls’ Synchromesh, which specializes in Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc varietals. The September 14 soiree, meanwhile, puts the spotlight on Hugging Tree, a Similkameen Valley boutique winery. Tickets, $150, include taxes and gratuity.