Fred UnLEEshed: April 24, 2017

GIRLPOWER: One Girl Can — a Vancouver-based charity focused on creating gender equality through education for girls living in extreme poverty in Africa — staged its third annual #IWANT2BE fundraiser at the Imperial on the outskirts of Chinatown.  More than 400 dynamic influencers and business leaders came together to provide African girls with a brighter future and work on ending poverty and injustice towards women. Attendees raised a record-breaking $306,000 to support One Girl Can’s efforts, which believes poverty can only be alleviated and gender parity achieved when women have access to education and employment. Monies raised will support the organizartion’s work with select schools and communities in Kenya and Uganda to offer young girls the opportunity to learn and grow, as well as building the infrastructure that will ensure each student has the capacity for learning and their safety is optimized.

PEARL JAM: Pink Pearl Restaurant has been a culinary icon in Vancouver, serving up Cantonese-style cuisine to local foodies for nearly 40 years. Still a dominant figure on Vancouver’s dining scene, the East Hastings establishment recently hosted a culinary journey of its signature dishes throughout the decades. It was hosted by food and wine writer Stephanie Yuen and Pink Pearl manager Alvin Zhang.  Dignitaries, VIPS and media were invited to enjoy a special preview of the 10-course promotional menu that has been curated to mark the restaurant’s longevity and place in the city. Beginning May 1 and until Aug. 31, diners will enjoy classic dishes from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s such as steamed eight treasures Fraser Valley duck, deboned chicken wings and pan-fried lotus root patties. Partial proceeds from the multi-course $568 dinner (reservations are required) will benefit the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and the Vancouver Sowers Society of Education’s Child Learning Programs.

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DYNASTY REIGNS: For many years, foodies have touted Chinese cuisine in Metro Vancouver as comparable to that of China and Hong Kong, primarily because many excellent chefs have immigrated here. When it comes to Chinese food, many have felt Vancouver’s dim sum is far better than Hong Kong’s. Some would go as far as saying our Chinese food is the best in the world, thanks to the supply of fresh ingredients, particularly seafood — a Chinese staple. This notion was recently underscored at the annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards — the largest culinary awards program in the country. Dynasty Seafood Restaurant took home the biggest prize of the night as Restaurant of the Year. Led by executive chef Sam Leung, Dynasty is setting the standard for Chinese cuisine in North America, successfully winning over Chinese and non-Chinese diners. Besting 140 restaurant finalists, Dynasty also picked up Best Dim Sum and Best Chinese Food at the marathon awards ceremony, held at the Sheraton Wall Centre. Other winners: Café Medina (Best Brunch), Savio Volpe (Best New Restaurant) and My Shanti (Best Indian).

EARTHLY DELIGHTS: Fairmont Pacific Rim unveiled its newest restaurant Botanist. It replaces Oru, which launched the hotel. Executive chef Hector Laguna helms the kitchen, which produces pretty plates that depict the culinary abundance of the region — produce rooted from the soil of the Pacific Northwest, sustainably sourced seafood and organic agricultural. Local designer extraordinaire Craig Sanghetta provided the blueprint for the pretty rooms, which are divided into four diverse spaces — a dining room, garden, champagne lounge and cocktail bar. Acclaimed mixologist David Wolowidnyk, formerly of the Top Table Group, will oversee the cocktail program along with Grant Sceney. Members of the media got a sneak peak of the fancy digs before its official opening April 24.

HOUSE MUSIC: For the past five years, the VSO School of Music has been providing music education to students of all ages and abilities. Annually, 2,000 budding musicians participate in the academy’s many programs. Honouring China's rich history of music, the school launched its newest initiative — the Traditional Chinese Music Program — this past September, offering advanced training in instrumental and vocal music based on the methods and materials from the renowned conservatory traditions of Beijing and Shanghai, as well as drawing from regional folk music traditions across China. The faculty honoured the program’s founders Tengxi Qiu, Tony Zhou, Ming Ge and QiQi Hong at its inaugural Golden Age of Glamour fundraiser held at Casa Mia. The house party and friend-raiser saw a capacity crowd file into the historic mansion to enjoy performances of classical, jazz and traditional Chinese music, while supporting the school through various fundraising games.

Hear Fred Mondays 8:20am on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition AM690 and 88.1FM; Email: yvrflee@hotmail.com; Twitter: @FredAboutTown

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