EAT DRINK LOCAL served at B.C. restaurants soon

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Victoria: Diners at B.C. restaurants are in for a local treat in 2017 – a month-long celebration of B.C. food and beverages from land and sea, as part of the EAT DRINK LOCAL campaign designed by the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA).

EAT DRINK LOCAL will offer family, casual and fine dining restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels and catering companies in B.C. the opportunity to participate in a provincewide program and promotion in which they can showcase their creativity and skill with local products and flavours. Interested restaurants will be invited to develop and submit a special fresh sheet, with application details available online: http://www.bcrfa.com. The timing of the month long local feast will be announced shortly, and will be timed to limit overlap with other dining events.

The EAT DRINK LOCAL program will also promote local foods through a web site that will serve as a hub for all things related to eating and drinking local. The site will include restaurant and chef profiles, trends, timetables and tips on the wide range of local ingredients being harvested and served in B.C. and a searchable directory by region and city of where to eat and drink local.

As part of the B.C. government’s ongoing efforts to build the local agrifood and seafood economy, the Ministry of Agriculture is contributing close to $225,000 to the program. EAT DRINK LOCAL is expected to increase the demand and sales of local food in the restaurants, build consumer awareness about the quality, range and flavour of B.C. foods, and help residents and tourists easily identify where local flavours are being served.

B.C.’s agrifood and seafood sector set a record $13 billion in revenue in 2015, and added 6,800 new jobs to the workforce, bringing the total number to 63,000 British Columbians working in the agrifood and seafood sector.

Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture and MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country said: “B.C. restaurants are one of the reasons people are excited about living and visiting here. The EAT DRINK LOCAL program will help continue to build on the connections and passion British Columbians have for foods, and help locals and tourists alike identify and enjoy local foods and beverages.”

Ian Tostenson, president & CEO, BC Restaurant and Food Services Association said: “We look forward to this dynamic new partnership with government that will introduce guests to new local culinary flavours from across our province. Working with restaurateurs creates an exciting platform for innovation with local products and will get residents and visitors alike engaged with local food and drink. An exciting opportunity to drive business for British Columbia restaurants of all kinds, this investment offers a real boost to our B.C. economy.”

Miles Prodan, president & CEO, BC Wine Institute said: “Restaurant support for the B.C. wine industry is widely recognized as the cornerstone for today’s consumer enthusiasm for 100% B.C. wine. In fact, last year the 540 B.C. restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, etc. accounted for over 20% of BC VQA wine sales across the province – an increase of over 5% from the year previous. B.C. wine by-the-glass, unique paired meals and wine list feature programs are ideal for customers to sample and try many of the award-winning B.C. wines available.”