Food Talks Vol 17

Food Talks Vol 17 Speakers (from left to right) Raveena Oberoi, Mark Singson, Will Lew, Dez Lo, Warren Chow, and Tushar Tondvalkar.

On November 20 we presented the 17th event in this Food Talks series which featured 6 inspiring chefs speakers from the food and beverages community who spoke about themselves and our Theme: It’s a Jungle Out There.

The evening began as guests mingled over delicious appetizers from Toloache Mexican Kitchen enjoying Barbacoa Sope, Chorizo empanada, Street corn in a cup and Toastadas.

Richard Wolak (Host and Founder of Food Talks and Vancouver Foodster) welcomed all and introduced our speakers.

Chef Will Lew

Chef Dez Lo

Chef Mark Singson

Chef Warren Chow

Chef Raveena Oberoi

Chef Tushar Tondvalkar

There was a Q & A following the speakers which Richard Wolak moderated and guests had a chance to ask questions and engage with the speakers.

Thank you to our host Toloache Mexican Kitchen, Phil Chin of Tin Type Portraits for filming and Birds in the House Productions for editing.

By: Richard Wolak

Food Talks Vol 17 on November 20

Get ready to indulge in Food Talks Vol 17

Join us for an exciting evening of food talks at Toloache Mexican Kitchen in Vancouver, BC, Get ready to indulge in a feast of flavors and connect with fellow food enthusiasts. Our lineup of speakers will share their passion for all things culinary, from secret recipes to food trends. Don’t miss out on this in-person event that promises to tickle your taste buds and inspire your inner foodie. Come hungry, leave inspired!

This is the seventeenth event in this Food Talks series! Come join us to meet and mingle with other foodies, and to hear some enlightening speakers from the food community.

Hosted by Richard Wolak – Founder of Vancouver Foodster and Food Talks

Theme: Movers and Shakers in our Food Community

Our Speakers Line-up:

Chef Will Lew

Chef Will Lew’s dream was always to be an artist. Growing up, his earliest memories about cooking were with his grandfather as child cooking, drawing, painting, and woodworking every weekend. His grandfather was a chef in Chinatown and from his dedication in the kitchen Will gained the love of food, fine arts, and creativity. Will had many interests in art and performance and grew up a violinist playing in many orchestras along with his earliest jobs as a violinist for various musicals around the city. One summer while obtaining an animal biology degree from UBC and playing in musicals he discovered professional kitchens for the first time. He was offered a job washing dishes while spending an afternoon in Yaletown almost 20 years ago. The Chef of the restaurant that summers afternoon asked him to start immediately, not even letting him change out of the suit he was wearing that day. That was a moment of epiphany as he finished at 4am that day, suit destroyed from washing dishes, but elated by the revelation introduction to the restaurant world. That day his whole culinary life flashed before his eyes from this open kitchen seeing all the potential, energy, and affect food and hospitality had on the community. From that day forward, Will went on to gain a degree in Animal Biology and continued to play music for several shows.

He worked his way up from washing dishes to running several restaurants for Glowbal Group. From there he became the Chef of all the restaurants at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel running Oru, The Rawbar, and Giovane. The most impactful moment for Chef Will at the Pac Rim was when the team forged the way for the RawBar to be the first 100% Ocean Wise sushi restaurant in Canada. That connection to his science background and thecreative storytelling though the canvas and performance of food to create positive changes for sustainability became a mission for the rest of his career. May it be ocean health, to seafood sustainability, to sharing the importance of plant based foods the sustainability and conservation of our food security systems became tenet of his culinary journey. That experience eventually led him to become the Chef de Cuisine of Notch8 at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and continued the path for environmental and social change through various initiatives. Chef Will eventually went back to Glowbal Group to run Black & Blue and The Roof. From there a unique opportunity led to him to be the chef that opened Quanjude, which later went on to earn 1 Michelin Star.

The journey went full circle after that experience to lead to his ultimate dream of working for a non-profit and making further strides in Seafood Sustainability. From his past decade of committing his menus, restaurants, and volunteer work toadvocate for Ocean Wise and seafood sustainability, he was able to obtain his dream of being the Executive Chef of Ocean Wise Conservation Association and run The Vancouver Aquarium. This journey eventually lead him to be the Chef of Nootka Marine Adventures with the mission to bring seafood sustainability and culinary creativity to the world of fishing lodges.

Today Chef Will is the executive chef of Club Versante in Richmond, and looks after Bruno, Cask, Acre, and Alaia along with the banquet and catering departments. The mission for sustainability for both the merrior and terrior of our environment continues as Club Versante has its own organic 120 acre farm aptly named Acre Lavande on Cortez Island where the majority of our produce and plant-based products originate from that are used in our restaurants and is the backbone of the inspirations for the food that we create. To preserve this resource and share the This connection and proximity to Chinese cuisine and culture as well as many new relationships bridging the gap between Chinese cuisine and western food has led him go full circle back to his earliest days of cooking Chinese food with his grandfather. This resurgence and pride in sharing his take on his cultures cuisine and stories has now brough forth a new missionand purpose for cooking that is in support and collaboration with the Chinese Restaurant Awards and all the initiatives they have worked on and continue to work on together with so many other passionate and inspiring Asian chefs in showing diversity and pride in our cultures and our cuisines.

You can follow Will Lew on Instagram @chefwilliamlew

Chef Dez Lo

Chef Deseree (Dez) Lo, born in Hong Kong and grew up in Taiwan, started working in the finance sector in New York City in the early 2000’s after graduating from New York University before deciding to break the mundane routine by learning a new skill, cooking. She enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, discovered her passion, quit her banking job and embarked on an almost 2 decade long career.

Before moving to Vancouver, Canada in 2016, Chef Dez honed her skills and climbed the culinary ladder at some top New York restaurants, including La Grenouille, Oceana and Locanda Verde. She worked at Cincin Restaurant until August 2019 as the Executive Sous Chef before joining the team at Old Bird as its opening chef in September 2019. When the pandemic hit, she took on an unexpected role as the Chef and Sales Director at Fresh Ideas Start Here, a Vancouver-based seafood company. Chef Dez competed on season 10 of Top Chef Canada and finished as runner-up. Most recently she was the Head Chef at Blank Canvas Catering and Chef-in-Residence for the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. She is currently working as a private chef.

You can follow Dez Lo on Instagram @chef.dezlo

Chef Warren Chow

Born and raised in beautiful British Columbia, Chef Warren Chow has a deep connection to Canada’s West Coast. He is the Executive Chef of Wildlight Kitchen + Bar. Chef Chow rose through the ranks in notable kitchens across the province including The PearTree Restaurant and Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, which led to executive chef roles at Juniper Kitchen & Bar, and Bauhaus restaurant. Mentoring under renowned chefs such as Bruno Marti, Scott Jaeger and Patrick Gayler, Chef Chow is trained in classic French cuisine and inspired by ingredients that nature, farmers, foragers, or fishermen have provided. He is a member of Culinary Team BC and represented Canada at the ExpoGast Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg, winning a Gold Medal in 2022. Chef Chow is the recipient of Vancouver’s first Michelin Young Chef Award. His best motivation is creating memorable dishes for guests, friends, and family to enjoy. At Wildlight, Chef Chow brings an approachable yet refined style of food to the menu. He’s passionate about good food, and he welcomes you to our family table.

You can follow Warren Chow on Instagram @warren.chow

Chef Tushar Tondvalkar

Chef Tushar, the owner and executive chef of the Indian Pantry has studied culinary arts and hotel management with a post-graduate degree in the latter. He has worked at the legendary two Michelin star, Gaggan and one Michelin star, Gaa in Bangkok, Blue Water Cafe, Bauhaus, Fish house in Stanley Park and West Oak in Vancouver. He was also the executive chef at Mumbai Local for two years, until he parted ways to start something of his own. In 2019, Chef Tushar has also started The Indian Pantry, which showcases regional Indian food through tasting menus, private dinners, catering services as well as retail options. He also co-owns Frankie Street Wraps a food truck in collaboration with Brave brewing co.

You can follow Chef Tushar Tondvalkar on Instagram @chefttushar

Chef Raveena Oberoi

Raveena Oberoi is the owner and head cake decorator and visionary behind Just Cakes Bakeshop – a bakery boasting 2 storefront locations in Surrey, BC. Raveena started her baking journey at the age of 16, and has built her business based on innovation, whole & simple ingredients, and a sprinkle of of South Asian influence over the last 13 years. Just Cakes Bakeshop is widely known for their Cake in a Jar concept, even opening up an exclusive, Cake Jar Vending Machine – coined THE JAR BAR – in 2020.

Personally, Raveena joined the baking world through passion and finding solace & therapy in baking. Her talents have brought her to the Food Network stage – competing and winning The Big Bake in 2019 – and now serving as a Judge on Wall of Bakers on Food network Canada.

Currently, Just Cakes Bakeshop employs a robust and enthusiastic team of 32 incredible individuals, and are currently expanding into the distribution market with their cake jars as well as other treats.

You can follow Chef Raveena Oberoi on Instagram @ravthechef

Chef Mark Singson

Chef Mark Singson is a Canadian chef who gained recognition for his culinary skills and creativity. He is known for his participation in various culinary competitions and TV shows. Chef Mark Singson gained widespread attention as a contestant on Season 5 of the popular cooking competition show “Top Chef Canada.”

His culinary style is often described as modern and inventive, and he has a passion for experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. He has worked in various restaurants and has earned a reputation for his dedication to the culinary arts. Chef Mark Singson continues to be active in the culinary world.

You can follow Chef Mark Singson on Instagram @marksingson

The Evening:

Enjoy tasty bites during our reception, followed by our wonderful line-up of all chef speakers who will talk about themselves and our theme. There will be a Q & A where you will have a chance to ask questions and engage with the speakers along with a chance to mingle and network with the speakers and guests afterwards.(Cocktails, beer, wine and other drinks will be available for purchase).


Early-Bird Tickets: $20 per person (before November 3, 2023)

Regular Tickets: $25 per person (after November 3, 2023)

Note: Eventbrite fee and GST is extra on all tickets purchased online.

Note: ALL Tickets must be purchased in advance online. All ticket sales are final. No exchanges or refunds; however you are welcome to transfer the ticket to another person for the same event if you notify us in advance with name (s) of who will be attending in your place. Event produced by CMI Chat Media Inc.

Location and Appetizers Sponsor

Film Editing Sponsor

Birds in the House Productions

Food Talks Vol 16 on May 8

This is the sixteenth event in this Food Talks series! Come join us to meet and mingle with other foodies, and to hear some enlightening speakers from the food community.

Hosted by Richard Wolak – Founder of Vancouver Foodster and Food Talks

Theme: Crushing it in our Food Community

Our Speakers Line-up:

Barb Finley

Chef Barb Finley

Project Chef

Barb Finley is the Executive Director and founder of Project CHEF: Cook Healthy Edible Food, a non-profit society that runs elementary school and community programs.  Project CHEF has taught more than 15,000 children and their families about wholesome food choices and how to make them.

Barb is an educator and chef and has taught with the Langley and Vancouver School Districts, UBC Faculty of Education, Dubrulle Culinary Institute and Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver.  A passionate advocate for teaching children how to cook, she has developed culinary programs throughout Greater Vancouver.

Barb’s work has been honoured by receiving the Governor General of Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal (2018), Canadian Foodservice Professionals Community Leadership Award (2016), the BC School Superintendents Award of Recognition for contributions to public education (2013), the Les Dames d’Escoffier Debra Van Ginkel Award (2008) and a nomination for the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award (2011).  Barb is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, BC Chapter and is a past Trustee with the Canada Post Foundation for Children.


Parinya Loptson

Chef Parinya Loptson

Ban Chok Dee

Parinya Loptson was born in Thailand and finished university to become a school teacher, teaching elementary school (grades K to 9). Growing up in a small village, far from the city, food and cooking is such a large part of the culture that she grew to love preparing meals for the family, even though it was her responsibility as the oldest child.

She left Thailand in 1998 and moved to Edmonton where she attended the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and graduated with a diploma in computer programming. She moved to Smithers, BC with her husband in 2003 where they had 2 kids. They then moved to Langley in 2007 and have been there until now.

Parinya worked at several jobs since coming to Canada and did well at them, but she wasn’t really satisfied with any of them. One day she got this idea in her head to open a Thai restaurant, and she couldn’t get rid of it – it just kept growing. After planning for almost a year, they opened the original Ban Chok Dee Thai Cuisine in Langley in 2009 and moved to the current Langley location in 2012. In 2016 they opened a second location in Maple Ridge. In 2018, they have opened a Thai cooking school in Langley which is also a venue for private functions, meetings and special dine-in events. The cooking classes cover a variety of topics and are suitable for both adults and children.

Chef Lynda Larouche

Chef Lynda Larouche

Argo Cafe

After studying under a Cordon Bleu chef, Lynda worked as a chef and an executive chef for the Sequoia group for 25 years. In her career, she prepared meals for Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, and a princess of Thailand. As well she has been a consultant chef for Donald Trump. She has mentored countless chefs over the years who are now running their own restaurants or working in leading kitchens around the world. She is currently the co-owner with her husband of the iconic Argo Café.

Chef Shobna Kannusamy

Chef Shobna Kannusamy 

Soirette Pastry Boutique 

Having lived in different parts of the world and having grown up in the diverse, multicultural community of her native Malaysia, Shobna brings a unique twist to her creations and offerings. In her teenage years, she moved to New Zealand where she completed her Bachelor of Engineering degree at the University of Auckland. It was during this time that she began to fall in love with baking.

After working in the engineering field for a few years, she discovered that pastry arts was her true calling. This prompted her to leave her comfort zone and migrate to Canada with her husband in 2003. She attended Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and graduated at top of her class with Honours.

Shortly after graduation, she staged at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier and took on a junior position at Cakes by Tatiana in Ottawa, where she honed her cake decorating skills. She then worked at 3 Tarts Bakeshop where she produced thousands of handmade tarts and started to truly understand the meaning of production! She then went on to be the Pastry Chef at Stoneface Dolly’s in Little Italy, Ottawa where she oversaw bread and dessert production for the restaurant.

In 2006, Shobna and her husband decided to move to Vancouver, where she accepted a position as Pastry Chef at Cupcakes on Denman. With years of experience under her belt, she began to develop her own unique vision a magical jewel-box pastry shop. In 2010, after her son was born, she attended BCIT to work on her business plan in order to bring her vision to fruition. Soirette was created in 2012 and has since grown to become a favourite among Vancouverites, supporting various local charities along the way. Together with her talented team, she uses the finest of ingredients to create macarons and cakes which are a treat for the senses.

Dana Lee Harris

Dana Lee Harris

BC Hospitality Foundation

When the wine scene began to heat up in the eighties, Dana joined her father’s import wine agency.  This work enabled her to develop her skills and gain experience, providing a solid background for her subsequent career in the wine and food industry.

In 2002, she secured a position as Regional Manager with Robert Mondavi.  Three years later she started her own consulting business, focusing on the food and wine industry.  Dana enjoys the multifaceted nature of her work, which includes planning events, media relations, strategizing with clients, and communications.  She has cultivated valuable relationships with liquor boards, trade and media across Canada, allowing her to achieve maximum exposure for her clients and their products.

Dana has worked with Wines of Argentina in Western Canada since 2007.  Among many projects she helped organize the highly successful 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, at which Argentina and New Zealand were co-theme regions.

Dana has contracted with many wine regions including British Columbia Wine Institute, Wines of South Africa, Wines of Argentina, California Wine Institute, Wine Australia, Sonoma Country Vintners, Napa Valley Vintners, New Zealand Wine Growers and the Washington Wine Commission.  On projects including Primum Familiae Vini Vancouver and Whistler, Michel Rolland cross Canada media, liquor board and trade tours, Cornucopia; Whistler’s Drink & Food Festival, Dish ‘n Dazzle, Vancouver International Wine Festival and more.

Dana is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, is Executive Director of the BC Hospitality Foundation and is a certified fitness instructor.  When not volunteering or working, she enjoys travel, spending time with family, friends, her husband Dean and enthusiastically pursues outdoor activities such as golf, biking, and hiking.



Dockside Lounge in the Granville Island Hotel, Vancouver

The Evening:

Enjoy appetizers and a welcome cocktail, followed by our wonderful line-up of all women speakers who will talk about themselves and our theme.  There will be a Q & A where you will have a chance to ask questions and engage with the speakers along with a chance to mingle and network with the speakers and guests afterwards.


Early-Bird Tickets: $18 per person (before May 1, 2018)

Regular Tickets: $21 per person (after May 1, 2018)

Note: Eventbrite fee and GST is extra on all tickets purchased online.

Note: ALL Tickets must be purchased in advance online. All ticket sales are final. No exchanges or refunds; however you are welcome to transfer the ticket to another person for the same event if you notify us in advance with name (s) of who will be attending in your place. Event produced by CMI Chat Media Inc.

Location and Appetizers Sponsor


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Film Editing Sponsor

Food Talks Vol 15 on November 7

This is the fifteenth event in this Food Talks series! Come join us to meet and mingle with other foodies, and to hear some enlightening speakers from the food community.

Hosted by Richard Wolak – Founder of Vancouver Foodster and Food Talks

Theme: From Your Roots

Our Speakers Line-up:

Caren McSherry

Caren McSherry

Founder – Gourmet Warehouse 

Caren’s professional training began at the Cordon Bleu in London, England. Her culinary education continued throughout the world, including the Culinary Institute of America, The Thai Cooking School in Bangkok & Japanese Food Art in Tokyo. In 1978 she founded Caren’s Cooking School, which now is one of Canada’s longest running, privately owned schools. In addition to teaching, she hosts The Sunday Morning Show “Cooking 101” on GLOBAL TV’S weekend news. She is a weekly guest on CKNW with Simi Sara called “Foodie Friday”

She is the author of 3 books and co-author of 3, her 7th book published by Random house/Penguin will be released October 2017.

Caren’s love of good food inspired the innovative concept of, “THE GOURMET WAREHOUSE”. The first store of its kind in Canada to unite gourmet specialty foods, kitchenware and supplies offering more than 28 thousand sku’s. Her other company “Continental Importers” is responsible for seeking out and obtaining the international food procurement to keep both companies on the cutting edge of food trends.

Dedicated to helping others in the business, she co-founded the BC Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, an international organization that promotes the professionalism of women in the culinary industry whose mission is to provide culinary scholarship opportunities to women.

Caren has recently been inducted into the BC RESTAURANT HALL OF FAME, has been included in Business in Vancouver’s top 25 performing businesses in British Columbia owned by women and is Where Magazine’s 2016 Trailblazer. She has also won the 2017 Board of Trade Wendy McDonald award for retail innovator of the year..

You can follow Caren McSherry on Twitter @caren_mcsherry and on Instagram @Caren_Mcsherry 

Paul Grunberg

Paul Grunberg

Co-Owner L’Abattoir and Osteria Savio Volpe

Paul Grunberg, host & restaurateur, is a force of nature in the Vancouver hospitality scene. With a goosebump-inducing passion first sparked while living and working at a boutique hotel in Switzerland, Paul brings an intense energy, a keen savoir-faire, and a genuine desire to create a comfortable environment for guests, ensuring an exceptional dining experience for every guest, every time.

Launching and nurturing some of the city’s top restaurants – Chambar, Market by Jean-Georges at the Shangri-La Hotel, Bao Bei Brasserie and his first co-owned project, L’Abattoir – led Paul to his most recent joint venture Osteria Savio Volpe, one of the city’s most popular new spots.

An award-winning public speaker and communicator and a graduate of Canada’s notable Hotel and Hospitality program at Camosun College, Paul’s strong leadership and uncompromising vision have served to parlay his obsession for food, wine and impeccable service into a reputation for creating remarkable dining experiences inspired by his own most memorable restaurant adventures at home and abroad.

Brian Turko

Owner & Master Roaster of Milano Coffee 

There are musical virtuosos, great chefs, and then there are rare individuals that can take up to 13 coffee bean varietals and know what to do with them. Milano’s Master Roaster, Brian Turko falls into this category.

Brian was born and raised in Vancouver’s Little Italy. There he discovered espresso bars in the early 1980’s when there was only a handful in the city, including Café de Milano where Brian came across a taste that changed his life. It was the taste of 100% Arabica coffee espresso with 7 to 11 varietals in each blend, masterfully crafted by Milano’s founding father, Francesco Curatolo. This was the beginning of a special relationship between teacher and student that would span almost two decades.

Following a 15 year mentorship to Francesco, Brian Turko, has earned his place as a West Coast coffee pioneer, elevating the premium coffee concept to new heights. Combining a careful diligence for Italian tradition with a boundless appetite for innovation, Brian’s novel blending concepts have created the ‘Milano taste’ hailed by coffee connoisseurs throughout the world and awarded multiple times by the International Institute of Coffee Tasters.

Following his mentorship to Francesco, Brian continued to dedicate his life to the pursuit of the perfect blend. His passion, tenacity and talent for the craft of roasting and blending regularly takes him into rarified territory in the coffee world.

Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce

Founder – Umaluma Gelato

Ian Bruce is a business executive and entrepreneur with 25 years experience in technology sales and business development. He is a “Foodie” with a passion for food excellence who is inspired by food that makes a difference in our lives. Food that is organically grown, ethically sourced and combined in ways that tantalize and seduce one’s sense experience. His company, Umaluma Ice Cream (an organic, non-dairy gelato retail and wholesale business), has taken these ideals and vision to heart. Focused on creating the ultimate, healthy alternative to the beloved ice cream experience, Umaluma boasts more than 20 original flavours that combine ultra-premium ingredients sourced all over the planet, with an original non-dairy based formula that tastes and feels even creamier than conventional ice cream – Ice Cream Evolved.

Jason Gilron

Jason Gilron

President – Pacific Restaurant Supply

Jason leads the design and sales division of Pacific. He maintains key relationships with customers and suppliers throughout the industry. Red seal certified, Jason has 12 years of experience in food preparation and brings this wealth of knowledge to Pacific.

If you haven’t been to our previous Food Talks events, Novus TV featured our Vol 3 on City Lights (view here).


Pacific Restaurant Supply, 1020 E Cordova Street, Vancouver

The Evening:

Enjoy a cup of coffee and cookies, followed by a wonderful line-up of speakers who will talk about our theme: From Your Roots.  There will be a Q & A where you will have a chance to ask questions and engage with the speakers along with a chance to mingle and network with the speakers and guests afterwards.


Early-Bird Tickets: $12 per person (before October 31, 2017)

Regular Tickets: $18 per person (after October 31, 2017)

Note: Eventbrite fee and GST is extra on all tickets purchased online.

Note: ALL Tickets must be purchased in advance online. All ticket sales are final. No exchanges or refunds; however you are welcome to transfer the ticket to another person for the same event if you notify us in advance with name (s) of who will be attending in your place. Event produced by CMI Chat Media Inc.

Location and Presenting Sponsor

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Chairs Rental Sponsor

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Coffee Sponsor:

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Film Editing Sponsor

Food Talks Vol 10, December 3

This is the tenth event in this Food Talks series! Come join us to meet and mingle with other foodies, and to hear some enlightening speakers from the wine community.

Food Talks goes WINE Talks for this edition! Our speakers will touch on all aspects of the wine industry including British Columbia and beyond. Each of the speakers will speak on their own wine topic (see below). You will also have a chance to learn from some industry supporting organizations.

Our Speakers Line-up:



Sid Cross is the Honorary President globally for The International Wine & Food Society and does a weekly posting on their site ( Sid is an enthusiastic speaker who judges many wine and food competitions including The Lieutenant Governor’s Awards For Excellence in British Columbia Wines & The Canadian Culinary Championships. He is the only Canadian inducted as a Membre d’Honneur of the Academie du Vin de Bordeaux and to be awarded The Gourmet of the Year by The Society of Bacchus America “for outstanding knowledge of food and wines and for imparting this knowledge to others”. Sid is an Officier de l’Ordre du Merite Agricole awarded by the French Government. Follow him @winefoodguru.

Topic: “The 6 best wine types already proven most successful for BC” (or why I love BC chenin blanc, riesling, white blends, pinot noir, cab franc, and syrah)!

david s


Few in the wine industry need an introduction to David Scholefield. His personality, experience, and profound global insight to the wine industry, in addition to his sharp wit and expert palate, make him a valued member of the Okanagan Crush Pad team. David was the inspiration for the Okanagan Crush Pad business model, which he first envisioned over ten years ago.

David’s devotion to wine sustained him throughout his long career as senior wine buyer for the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB), where he earned a global reputation for his ability to shepherd allocations of the world’s finest wines onto the shelves of BC liquor stores. It was during his many buying trips to wine regions around the world that he was first introduced to the concept of a cooperative wine production facility. The light bulb turned on while on a visit to New Zealand in the early 1990s when he discovered several of the top producers were making their wine from the same facility. David is an ambassador for Okanagan Crush Pad, and the “S” in the winery’s Bartier Scholefield label.

When he does not have his nose in a glass of wine, David can be found stomping through fields tracking birds or lurking around music shops and book stores in Vancouver. You can follow here @TrialtoBC

Topic: ‘Place not  Grape: Defining Okanagan terroir’.



Michelle grew up in Québec where she studied classical trumpet and performed, taught and conducted music. She moved to Vancouver in 1996 to finish her bachelor’s degree in classical music and learn English. While serving in fine dining restaurants, she took an introductory wine course, which proved to be a revelation. In 2003, she completed her International Sommelier Diploma with top marks and worked as the resident sommelier at Marquis Wine Cellars. She went on to complete the internationally recognized Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) Diploma Programme in 2007 with her first year funded by a scholarship awarded by the Vancouver Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier. Today Michelle is an instructor for the International Sommelier Guild and is a regular guest on French CBC radio. She speaks fluent French and English. Her defining wine moment was having her soother dipped in Champagne at Baptism but she also fully admits that she often cheats on wine with a delicious beer.

Michelle plays an active role in the wine community, sitting on expert panels for Cornucopia, the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival and the Vancouver Magazine wine awards. Her wine travels have led her to the regions of Burgundy, the South of France, Abruzzo, Piedmont, Tuscany, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Napa, Sonoma, Washington, Oregon and the Okanagan. Co-Founder of House Wine, you can follow here @housewine_girls

Topic: “You don’t have to be rich to start a wine cellar’’



Michaela spent most of her youth determined to become an actress but a modeling stint in Japan fuelled her desire to travel. She spent several years cycle touring and working her way around Europe before earning a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and French from the University of British Columbia. A one year exchange program led her back to France where she discovered the region of Burgundy and decided to pursue a career in the wine industry. After a five-year tenure at Marquis Wine Cellars, Michaela went on to become the Marketing/Logistics Manager for Liquid Art Fine Wines, a premium-only wine importing company. Michaela was awarded a scholarship by the Vancouver Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier for the internationally recognized Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) Diploma Programme.  She successfully completed her diploma in 2005 and today she is a guest lecturer for the programme. She is fluent in both English and French and continues learning Spanish and Italian. Michaela’s guilty pleasure is lobbing off Champagne corks with a sabre and she has a weakness for anything that sparkles.

A familiar face in the wine scene, Michaela has participated in tasting panels for Les Chevaliers des Vins de France, Cornucopia and the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. She has traveled extensively throughout the wine regions of Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône Valley, Abruzzo, Piedmont, Sardegna, Sicily, Tuscany, Val d’Aosta, Napa, Central Coast, Argentina, New Zealand and the Okanagan. Co-Founder of House Wine, you can follow here @housewine_girls

Topic: “You don’t have to be rich to start a wine cellar’’

Tim Pawsey


Tim has been covering the food and wine revolution for about 20 kilos. Count 15 kg alone thanks to the blossoming cuisine and wine culture of British Columbia, Canada.

Tim’s hallmark is seeking out and recommending value wines from BC and around the world that offer quality at every level. He also scopes out noteworthy restaurants that live up to their promises—and often over deliver. Readers depend on the Hired Belly for his “Belly’s Best” and “Belly’s Budget Best” picks to help them find the right wine for the occasion.

He writes, tweets and shoots his own images for columns in the Vancouver Courier and North Shore News. He also contributes to WHERE Vancouver magazine, as well as to several other publications. They include Taste magazine, Tidings Magazine, and Montecristo. His columns are frequently picked up by major newspapers across Canada.

Tim is a frequent judge for wine competitions, such as Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards. He is a founding judge of The BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine. He is frequently invited to judge at The BC Wine Awards, and others.

Tim has traveled to taste in many of the world’s leading wine regions, most recently in Burgundy, Argentina and Chile. You can follow him @hiredBelly

Topic: Drinking Outside the Box … Why Vancouver is forever in the Okanagan’s debt

john c


John was raised listening to stories about his father’s childhood in a Cypriot mountainside village. He heard about how his grandfather looked after his family of nine by raising an assortment of animals, and by growing their own fruits and vegetables. His grandfather also tended their vines and made wine, along with their local moonshine which was nothing less than racing fuel. The seeds were planted for his curiosity about food and wine.

In 1977 his career began like any other good Greek Canadian, in the family restaurant. Ten years in the restaurant business gave John a strong foundation for working with people and listening to his customers. Painfully aware of the frustrations locals had by the limited selection of wines and indifferent service, John jumped at the opportunity to open Marquis Wine Cellars in 1986. Inspired by speaking with many of his seasoned wine friends and his readings John’s quest for knowledge began.

John has travelled extensively though Australia, Washington, Oregon, California, Italy, Spain, France and Austria, sourcing unique, flavourful, undiscovered wines. Even after 25 years his quest for discovery remains unabated. You will most likely find John in either one of three places, at Marquis Wine Cellars assisting his clients, in a vineyard or cellar somewhere in the wine world, or his most preferred location: at the local ice rink playing hockey. You can follow here @MarquisWineCell

Topic: Nuturing & Developing a Wine Culture in BC

Watch videos of past food talks here.

If you haven’t been to our previous Food Talks events, Novus TV featured our Vol 3 on City Lights (view here).

You will also have a chance to learn about some organizations that lead the way in the wine industry.


Modernize Wine Association of British Columbia is a registered non-profit society that advocates for a modern food and wine culture in B.C.

FreshTAP is a premium packaging company that provides wineries and licensees a cost-effective, hassle free and reliable way to join the rapidly expanding Wine-On-Tap market in stainless steel kegs.

Established in 2007 on Granville Island, Artisan SakeMaker is known as a unique commercial winery that produces award winning, hand-made, small batch and fresh sake. Our brand name “OSAKE” is widely recognized as “Canada’s first locally produced fresh premium sake” and its popularity has reached across the country and beyond.

Location: Vancouver Urban Winery

The Evening: Each guest will receive a tasting glass of Vancouver Urban Winery’s wine. Enjoy a wonderful line-up of speakers who will talk about themselves and their passion related to the wine community.  There will be a Q & A where you will have a chance to ask questions and engage with the speakers along with a draw for prizes (A selection of wines from their Wine on Tap line-up will be available for purchase).

Buy Tickets via Eventbrite:

Advance Tickets: $20 per person before November 30

Regular Tickets: $25 per person after November 30 and at the door

Note: Eventbrite fee and gst is extra on all tickets purchased online.

Note: Limited tickets available. Note: ALL Tickets must be purchased in advance online. All ticket sales are final. No exchanges or refunds; however you are welcome to transfer the ticket to another person for the same event if you notify us in advance with name (s) of who will be attending in your place. Event produced by CMI Chat Media Inc.

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