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A Food & Drink Showdown

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  • Posted in: events
  • March 6, 2019

From Castanet news by Nicholas Johansen. Read the full article here.

A food and drink showdown

For the second time this year, Micro Bar Bites hosted two restaurants in a one-on-one culinary and bartending battle, pitting downtown Kelowna’s Krafty Kitchen + Bar against Jack’s Pizza & Liquor and Salt & Brick.

Cleavers and Cocktails is a form of a “black box competition,” where competitors learned of several of the ingredients they were required to use just moments before the 30-minute time limit began.

“Everybody loves a little competition but in the end it’s a way to show what’s happening in the our community with the restaurant industry, because right now it’s absolutely booming,” said Wes Hunter, beverage director with Raudz Regional Table and micro and host of the event.

Chris Daigle took on the bar duties for Krafty, while Brandon Abbott handled the food. For Jack’s and Salt & Brick, Brian Atkinson mixed the drinks and Jak Callahan cooked.

The first round featured Wagyu beef in the kitchen and spiced rum from Quebec in the bar, while the second round saw the competitors work with calf liver and a brand new vermouth from Summerland.

Competitors spent several hours concocting on-the-fly food and drinks in a workspace as small as the name micro suggests, treating the just over 30 people in attendance to culinary and drink delights.

After tallying the scores from the two judges, along with additional points from the rest of the crowd, the duo from Jack’s and Salt & Brick squeaked out the win. Neither Atkinson or Callahan had competed in an event like this before.

Atkinson said he spent five hours studying cocktail books on the afternoon of the event, but once he got on the floor, his instincts took over.

“Don’t overthink it, just go in, be fluid and roll with the punches,” Callahan said, adding that working with the liver was his biggest challenge.

“It was an absolute delight and I’d do it again in an heartbeat.”

Cleavers and Cocktails was started by Raudz Regional Table and Micro a couple years ago.

“This is kind of a rejuvenated Cleavers, changing up the format a little bit and making it very guest-interactive, making sure they’re getting samples of the food and the drinks,” said Hunter.

He said they plan on hosting a couple more Cleavers and Cocktails before the summertime hits, but those interested in attending one in the future will have to act quick once tickets go on sale – Monday’s event sold out in less than 24 hours.