Charming, articulate, bursting with energy and passionate about food - those were my immediate impressions of Michelle Ng as we sat down to chat about her new venture, Vancouver Foodie Tours.
I was caught up in her enthusiasm as Michelle explained her Foodie Tours concept to me:
The tours are for passionate foodies who want to sample the best restaurants and cafes in town. Each tour lasts approximately 2 and a half hours. In this time Michelle introduces participants to 4 - 6 restaurants where they sample signature dishes, meet the owners and chefs, and get the inside scoop on how the restaurants began and what continues to bring in the crowds. Examples of places that the Foodie Tour may visit range from the Bonchaz Bakery Cafe where Michelle and I met for coffee, to fine dining restaurants like Coast or Italian Kitchen.
Each place is personally selected by Michelle because it offers a food experience that she values. As I learned, the Bonchaz is named for their pastry specialty; an oven baked milk bun topped with a crisp golden crust and a hint of fresh ground coffee, that comes in 5 different flavors.
During my long career in medicine, I would make a point of visiting hospital laboratories, especially in children's hospitals, whenever I visited a country or a city that boasted of a paediatric hospital. And generally I returned to Vancouver with a renewed pride in the quality of care we provided in the laboratories of our own Children's and Women's Hospital here in BC.
Now that my second career centres on theatre, food and travel writing, I likewise take every opportunity I can to see theatre, and wine and dine in great restaurants wherever I travel. Each time I return to Vancouver whether I have experienced superb meals in London, Capetown, the Languedoc or on my recent trip to Chicago, I realize anew how lucky we are to have the fresh food bounty from earth and sea, that we have here in British Columbia.
Prompted by an absolutely outstanding dining experience with the Chef's Table selection at Goldfish Pacifc Kitchen last night, and looking back on the variety of restaurants I have reviewed since I began posting my reviews to Supping in Vancouver, I realized that I need to develop some sort of a rating scale to distinguish an outstanding dining experience from an excellent or a merely really good meal.