As much as I'd like to believe that I can do it all, you know what? I can't. Throwing events is more than a one person show. And especially since I haven't lived here in Vancouver THAT long, I need help in sussing out great locations and caterers.
One of the side benefits of hosting a Salon is working together with local people whose work ethic is such that they exceed your expectations. I love love LOVE meeting other local entrepreneurs who are all about upping THEIR game by providing a unique experience.
Nothing stuffy or boring or old school or half-a**ed about them.
I worked with Amy Tran of All & Sundry on my first Salon and again on this one.
I love her aesthetic - that's Amy in the photograph above helping set up before everyone arrived. She created the flower arrangements as well. Amy and her biz partner Kamelli started All & Sundry about 8 months ago. Their style "marries the well-made, sustainable, and locally sourced with a fondness for highlighting the simple and unique details of life’s celebrations".
The Salon was held at Harvest Community Foods, located on Union Street in Strathcona, Vancouver's oldest residential neighbourhood. Always a working class 'hood, it went through decades of decline to being marked for demolition in the 1950's. The community held on and now many young families and artists and entrepreneurs have moved in to breathe new life to the area.
It's also a sentimental location for me because it's where my mother-in-law grew up - not just the neighbourhood but the very same street - Union Street.
Harvest is a community grocery AND restaurant and is committed to sustainable and local food. Chef Andrea Carlson even has a CSA share that you can sign up for on the website.
The Salon started like all Salon evenings with drinks and appetizers and lots of time to chat. There were 18 of us squeezed into Harvest between the groceries on the shelf and the tiny open kitchen, right next to the freezer with local artisanal supplier Earnest Ice Cream. I like it that way - cozy and intimate.
Gathering people together? You need food and drink and chef Andrea Carlson who started Harvest more than delivered. Another great find.
Now how about THIS menu of appetizers:
Chilled Soba Noodle Salad
Gluten-free pork Steam Buns
Rhubarb Kimchi on Rice
Kale Tip Gomae with Hazelnut Granola
Macarons to finish
In addition to running Harvest, Andrea recently opened Burdock and Co on Main Street.
This Salon was a change of pace. Well, every Salon is a change of pace because no two are alike in either the event or the location. Raincoast Creative Salon - the magpie of salons. This time we had a guest speaker.
Once everyone had a chance to chat and eat and have a drink or two, we gathered around the table to listen to innovative architect and recent TEDtalk presenter Michael Green.
He has an office in Vancouver and one in NYC where he is researching sustainable building practices - specifically, building skyscrapers out of wood. But that wasn't his only topic - he also spoke about a new proposal for the Downtown Eastside, Canada's poorest neighbourhood and where his office is located. He talked about organizing local Downtown Eastside businesses to pool 1% of their revenues to fund neighbourhood-specific projects.
Seeing a need and finding a solution.
Listening to him speak I thought about what it takes to get people on board with your idea - it's really one person at a time. You have a vision? Stick with it no matter what. If you truly believe it, with persistence and patience you can make it happen.
That ability to persuade is an art.
And of course there usually is SOMETHING creative at a Salon. This time it was a project related to wood AND to historical Vancouver buildings. A little mod podge, some wood blocks, some images of old Vancouver.
Another Raincoast Creative Salon evening - for me it's really just about getting people together. Some food & wine, good conversation, and something creative.