Beef N Blues Friday night at CUP
SUMMERSIDE — Some of the Island’s best music and food will be on offer at two popular Fall Flavours events this weekend at Credit Union Place’s Eastlink Arena.
The events — Friday night’s Beef N Blues and Saturday’s Kegs, Corks and Oysters — are being hosted by Tourism Summerside and have been big boosts to an often slow fall tourism season, said executive director Carolyn Thorne.
“Fall Flavours is a key component in bringing people to the Island during the month of September. It’s not just in one community. It is spread out across the Island,” said Thorne. “It is definitely bringing people here in September, which is considered an off season for tourism here.”
And it’s almost an even split of Islanders and off Island visitors buying tickets, with more than 40 per cent of the tickets sold to visitors.
“Our hope with doing back-to-back events is that people are staying in Summerside and attending both events,” added Thorne. “That means they are overnighting at an accommodation here, in Summerside, they’re eating meals beyond just the Fall Flavours events and, perhaps, they’re taking in another activity while they’re here.”
Beef N Blues, in its third year, is a Signature Fall Flavours event that features celebrity chef Mark McEwan, judge on Food Network’s Top Chef Canada, returning as the evening’s host. He hosted the first event, which was a sellout, prompting organizers to up their game last year.
“Last year, we moved the venue just so that we could grow the event and we increased ticket sales to 400 and we had 300 that attended,” said Thorne of the event that featured Top Chef Canada winner Carl Heinrich. “We are looking forward to seeing what the numbers are this year. Again, we have 400 tickets available.”
The event is staged inside Eastlink Arena, which, thanks to the decorating skills of Kool Breeze Farms and the lighting and staging expertise of Jay Perry and his crew, is unrecognizable as a hockey arena.
“Once you kind of set that bar that high it’s hard to back up from that,” said Thorne. “We’re aiming for the same kind of wow factor when people walk into the room this year.”
At Beef N Blues an array of beef dishes are served at 13 tasting stations, one of which is a dessert station that, Thorne assured, doesn’t include beef.
Chefs from various restaurants across the Island will be showing off their culinary skills in the dishes, which use beef provided by Atlantic Beef Products.
There are a few new “twists” being added to the event.
“We’re going to do a few contests. We’re having a steak-eating contest and a potato peeling contest and what’s called a bowl shot, which is a mix of beef broth and alcohol,” explained Throne. “Mark is going to judge it. Maybe he will thrown in some of his skills from Top Chef Canada and show us how it’s done.”
Popular performers Mike Dixon and James Phillips, members of the Saddleriver String Band, will provide the blues component of the evening.
“It’s a great evening out, for sure,” said Thorne.
The following night is the second annual Kegs, Corks and Oysters, featuring the culinary skills of FiveElevenWest’s chef Emily McKeown and Malpeque Oysters from Five Star Shellfish.
“We have a baked oyster bar, which is going to have three different dishes all made with oysters. We’re having three different oyster appetizers and a raw oyster bar,” said Thorne. “We have eight wine companies that are going to be represented and three beer companies, a mix of local and off Island.”
Providing the entertainment is Irish Mythen.
“There’s lots of food at both. Nobody goes home hungry,” said Thorne. “They are referred to as tasting events because there is not a sit-down meal and a full-plate meal but there is no shortage of food. There are lots of great drinks and lots to eat.”
There are still tickets available for both events, which can be purchased online at fallflavours.ca or at the Credit Union Place box office.
Each event goes from 7 to 10 p.m.
Some of the participating chefs are:
- Nora Johnston, Samuel’s Coffee House.
- Emily McKeown, FiveElevenWest
- Donnie Gallant, Out to Lunch
- Kyle Panton, Sims Corner
- Donna Wagner, The Landing in Tyne Valley
- Melanie Stevens and Dave Dixon, Milligan’s Wharf Fish and Chips