An Annual Gala Culinary Celebration by British Columbia’s Leading

Professional Women in the Fields of Food, Fine Beverage and Hospitality

An Evening in Tuscany

Following the single long table format, a beautifully decorated formal Italian table for 100 guests was set inside Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver. The host chef was Ned Bell, Executive Chef of Four Seasons Hotel and YEW restaurant + bar. The MC was the 2002 Italo-Canadian of the year, CBC Television’s Tony Parsons.

This year’s Gala inspiration and guest of honour was chef and restaurateur Umberto Menghi, an international culinary icon that Vancouver calls our own. Umberto Menghi is credited, by his chef colleagues, with starting the gourmet food scene in Vancouver with the opening of Umberto’s, the little yellow heritage house, on the corner of Hornby and Pacific in 1973. With the closing of Umberto’s and IL Giardino in April, it is truly the end of an era for many of us who have dined with Umberto over the years.


The evening started with a champagne reception, hosted by Veuve Clicquot and was followed by a sit down dinner with twelve of British Columbia’s most distinguished chefs, peers and friends of Chef Menghi, as they created an Italian inspired meal. We toasted Umberto’s illustrious career with fine wines by Anthony Von Mandl’s Mission Hill Family Estate; Werner Schonberger’s Select Wines and Spirits; Continental Importers Jose Valagao; Tony Holler of Poplar Grove Winery and Nicholas Sabanis of Vintage Corks Ltd. with Duckhorn Vineyards.

Special guest chefs (in alphabetical order) Ned Bell, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver and YEW restaurant + bar; Dame Margaret Chisholm, Culinary Capers Catering; Rob Feenie, Cactus Club Café; Bruno Feldieson, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver; David Hawksworth, Hawksworth at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia; Dana Hauser,  Fairmont Hotel, Waterfront;  Greg Hook, Chocolate Arts; Michel Jacob, Le Crocodile; Quang Dang, West; Hidekazu Tojo, Tojo’s; with Benton Brothers Fine Cheese presentation by Vista d’Oro’s Dame Lee Murphy;  Dame Mary Mackay, Terra Breads; Dame Lesley Stowe, Raincoast Crisps; and Dame Ann Kirsebom’s “Callebaut & Grand Marnier Grand Cachet’  Chocolat noir with Grand Marnier Ganache. The exquiste Chocolate used by the chefs for the evening is sponsored by Cacao Barry. 

All proceeds will go to the Les Dames d’Escoffier BC Scholarship Fund, supporting the advancement of British Columbia women in hospitality and culinary fields, as well as food outreach programs that include Project Chef and Growing Chefs.