Beer vs. Wine. Which is better? You be the judge! In the age-old love affair between food and wine, has beer been nudged off the dinner table? Cicerone or Sommelier... who will win? Join Jack Crompton of Whistler Debates as he hosts a scrappy and scrumptious multi-course match-up between world class experts in their fields. Set on Cornucopia's Culinary Stage attendees will enjoy a multi-course tasting, each course being paired with both a wine and beer. Held under the Munk Debate format, the audience votes on their way in, then again after the showdown and whosoever sways the most votes in their direction will be named the winner. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Chef Luis Valenzuela Robles Linares
“Close your eyes and imagine what you want to do for the rest of your life,” once said a wise man to a then 14-year-old Luis. That conversation jump-started his journey through culinary profession.
For Luis, cooking is a medium through which he makes the invisible, visible, like transforming raw materials into a mouth-watering dish. He admires Spanish food, for he thinks it symbolizes conviviality. He feels alive, centered, and present while cooking. Maybe that’s why he says, “I’ve never thought about cooking as my job.” He then adds, “It is my calling.”
Luis cooks some of the most exciting dishes in Toronto’s food scene. According to him, “respect” is his secret sauce… Respect the dignity of the ingredients. Respect the authenticity of traditional recipes. And respect the harmony of his team.
Brendan Grills, Cicerone
I grew up in Whistler and spent a great deal of my childhood in my families restaurants, Ole Mole, Zeuski's, and Thai One On. This started my love for food and beverage. After graduation, I went to SFU and joined the home brewing club (SFBrew) and was elected president the following week. From there I started working at a number of breweries in the lower mainland and perusing my Cicerone Certification, which I passed November of 2014. I currently work in a number of capacities freelance consulting: staff training, beer judging, brewing, and menu developing.
Claire Saksun, Sommelier
You could say Claire was truly born the day she had her first glass of off-dry Riesling. Since then, food and wine has grown into her life’s passion. After studying International Development and food security at McGill University, Claire moved back to her hometown Toronto to work in restaurants and further her education in noodle culture at Momofuku Toronto. On a search for more noodles/doughy delights, she relocated to Vancouver to complete her Master of Architecture with a focus on food production, preparation, and consumption design. During this time, she joined the team at Royal Dinette and has since left architecture behind to take on the role of Wine Director. Her personal wine philosophy is centered around organic and biodynamic production, with an interest in a more hands-off approach to winemaking. These days you can find Claire speaking passionately about orange wine and ambient yeasts to anyone who will listen, or rolling pasta in bed.