It was a dark and stormy night.... Actually it was a pretty mild day in Halifax, albeit a little windy and we were all set to attend the Taste of Nova Scotia Annual Prestige Awards. The awards ceremony was part of the larger TIANS Summit going on in Halifax this week. A meeting of all things tourism and hospitality in our great province held over a 3-day period at the World Trade and Convention Centre. On this particular Tuesday we found ourselves at the schooner showroom at Casino Nova Scotia for what was to be a spectacular luncheon featuring a who's who of the provinces culinary world. Upon walking through the large double doors we were treated by 5 or so tables featuring stellar boxed and bagged lunches catered by Emma's Eatery, Scanway Catering and Tempo Restaurant. In this room, local ruled with Terra Beta Farms juices and propeller sodas sitting in ice buckets in the middle of every table. Also, a bottle of Avondale Sky's "Bliss" and Grand Pré Winery's Riesling (both of whom were awarded prestige awards for their excellence) were part of the day's wonderful offerings. The event was truly a grand showcase of the achievements possible when we all work toward a common goal. The goal here being, to solidify Nova Scotia's place on the map as a true culinary destination all it's own.
The ceremony lasted about 3 or so hours and featured guest speakers and videos put together for each winner by Taste of Nova Scotia's marketing man, Doug Townsend. We are truly humbled to have been given the award for "Best Restaurant- Chef inspired Casual Fine Dining" for the 2014 year. The awards are chosen based on nominations sent in by consumers around the province and finalized by a panel of judges put together by the folks at Taste of Nova Scotia. While we were watching the other recipients go up and receive their awards and the video clips that went along with it, I had a moment of clarity of why things like the Prestige Awards are so important for our industry and our province. The idea of an award is age-old and of course, any business wants to see recognition for their efforts in the form of accolade and plaques and certificates and what-have-you. We obviously want to thrive as a business and these things help bring awareness and bring customers in to see what the fuss is about. That's a given. But more than that, something like the Prestige Awards directs all of our efforts, from small cafe to 400-seat dining halls to the same goal. After all, we are all on the same team. We all have a passion to represent Nova Scotia and show the world what we have to offer. This small patch of land on the east coast of one of the world's largest countries is brimming with life. From our seafood to our land based farms to our local produce and everything in between. The more we push the envelope of what's possible in this land, the more we show those who are young and thinking about a career in this industry that we are a mighty, culturally rich people. Young people who want to become farmers can look to places like Getaway farms and see that the industry is ready and wanting for young minds to take over the reigns and lead us into the future. Having people who want to become cheesemakers and bakers and brewers and winemakers, etc. is crucial for our province's culinary industry and when you find yourself in a room like we did on that Tuesday afternoon and can look around and see the efforts put forth by these amazing people being recognized, it really is awe-inspiring and we couldn’t have been happier to be a part of it.
Nova Scotia has so much to offer and it really is incredible to see the direction our mighty little province is heading. Every year our products find themselves competing against larger stages in more and more places around the world and when the people in these places look to the labels they can see that they are proudly made in Nova Scotia. We as a restaurant are PROUD to showcase many of these products and producers and being able to be an ambassador for our great province is what makes all of the late night marketing sessions and countless hours of number crunching worthwhile. In fact, while walking away with the (also handmade in NS) award platter we had a hard time thinking of it as work at all. Each day we get to come in put on a show that we hope sends you away with a true taste of what we're capable of here in beautiful Nouvelle-Écosse.
Awards like these belong to us all. As long as we continue to show the world what's possible with hard work and true creativity and passion it is only a matter of time before our industry becomes a global force. With every shuck, cut, press, and roast we're ensuring that those younger than us have a passion-rich industry to aspire toward. And truly, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!
Many congrats to all the award winners and a huge thank you to Taste of Nova Scotia for all that you do to bring us onto that world stage!
The whole crew at The Brooklyn Warehouse