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The Georgia Straight Golden Plate Awards


Keith Talent
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Ok, I can not believe with all of the chat that has been going onabout GBP, that you guys did not flood the Straight with ballots about gingerbread pudding.

Any press is good press.

Seriously, I would have hawked the golden plate and thrown you all a big party. Too late now. Maybe next year.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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Coffee Shop (Independent)

1. (tie) JJ Bean house of coffee

Various locations

1. (tie) Caffe Artigiano

Various locations

2. Blenz Coffee

Various locations

3. Bean Around the World

Various locations

4. Delaney’s Coffee House

1105 Denman Street, 604-662-3344

I couldn't help but notice that all these coffee shops are chains (with the exception of #4). How does a coffee shop chain maintain its independance? Is this similar to the Hollywood trend of calling any movie not produced by Jerry Bruckheimer indepedant? Aren't there actual independant coffee shops that need support?

Perhaps the category needs to be expanded to "Best Coffee Shop (chain)" and "Best Coffee Shop (Independant)"

(It should be noted that as my brother owns an independant coffee shop in Vancouver, I have a personal axe to grind.)

Regardless, I think the point stands.

I would have thought Artigiano qualified as independent (not sure about the others); having more than one location doesn't make you a "chain" per se, does it? Doesn't that relate more to the corporate or non-corporate nature of ownership? If your brother is successful enough to open a second storefront, won't he still be independent?

:unsure:

Actually JJ Bean is owned by John Neates Jr. Son of the original independant coffee guy who ran Neates coffee in Vancouver in the last century. I remember serving his father lunch all over the city. He was a famous lunch diner who would go to all his accounts and have a few glasses over his meal, and shmooze up the staff. One of the real class acts of the old Van. food scene.

John Jr. has a local roaster on Powell street, and has added 3 other locations on Commercial drive, Main Street, and Granville market. The coffee is as good as the best in town. I would definetly classify him as independant.

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What is up with breakfast?

Hey I love Sophies but there are more breakfast places then that- what about cafe zen-sunshine cafe-joes..........

open your eyes people

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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The Golden Plates don't seem all that bad to me. They are what they say they are - the places that Georgia Straight readers cast their ballots for. The opportunity for ballot stuffing aside, by their nature they will reflect businesses that are well known and/or have lots of outlets. Clearly lots of people buy Cobs bread and McDonald's fries - you don't need Golden Plates to tell you so any more than you need them to tell you that Starbucks sells lots of lattes.

I can't disagree that having so very many categories seems to serve the selling of ads, but it also seems that restaurants benefit from the recognition - many of them post their awards in their windows and on their websites. After all, they are businesses and it never hurts to be given a public thumbs up by the people who actually come in to spend their money.

Even if places like Lumiere and Tojo's are recognized for their reputation rather than the voters' dining experience, that in itself tells us that those are the places the voters likely will choose when they get that promotion or celebrate an anniversary. And the chefs and owners have evidence that their reputation remains intact.

And after all, it provides evidence to those who see themselves as more savvy that they are, in fact, staying ahead of the crowd.

As for what is "independent", well there's lots of other categories, aside from coffee, where you could make the same distinction and argument - just more awards to hand out and more ads to sell.

The West Ender and Vancouver Magazine also have People's Choice awards, it seems like a relatively harmless practice to me.

Cheers,

Anne

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The Golden Plates don't seem all that bad to me.  They are what they say they are - the places that Georgia Straight readers cast their ballots for.  The opportunity for ballot stuffing aside, by their nature they will reflect businesses that are well known and/or have lots of outlets.  Clearly lots of people buy Cobs bread and McDonald's fries - you don't need Golden Plates to tell you so any more than you need them to tell you that Starbucks sells lots of lattes. 

I can't disagree that having so very many categories seems to serve the selling of ads, but it also seems that restaurants benefit from the recognition - many of them post their awards in their windows and on their websites.  After all, they are businesses and it never hurts to be given a public thumbs up by the people who actually come in to spend their money.

Even if places like Lumiere and Tojo's are recognized for their reputation rather than the voters' dining experience, that in itself tells us that those are the places the voters likely will choose when they get that promotion or celebrate an anniversary.  And the chefs and owners have evidence that their reputation remains intact. 

And after all, it provides evidence to those who see themselves as more savvy that they are, in fact, staying ahead of the crowd. 

As for what is "independent", well there's lots of other categories, aside from coffee, where you could make the same distinction and argument - just more awards to hand out and more ads to sell.

The West Ender and Vancouver Magazine also have People's Choice awards, it seems like a relatively harmless practice to me.

I do question the validity of the vote of Cobb's Breads as best bakery (in Vancouver) and McDonald's as best fries (in Vancouver). It seems more likely that these nominations were influenced by votes from the GVRD rather than just the population of Vancouver proper, who probably had more of an influence on establishments specific to Vancouver itself. Or, perhaps it's the readership in general? But, I'd doubt the majority of typical Vancouver G.S. readers would vote for a conglomerate like either establishments mentioned above. :hmmm:

"If cookin' with tabasco makes me white trash, I don't wanna be recycled."

courtesy of jsolomon

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The Golden Plates don't seem all that bad to me.  They are what they say they are - the places that Georgia Straight readers cast their ballots for.  The opportunity for ballot stuffing aside, by their nature they will reflect businesses that are well known and/or have lots of outlets.  Clearly lots of people buy Cobs bread and McDonald's fries - you don't need Golden Plates to tell you so any more than you need them to tell you that Starbucks sells lots of lattes. 

I can't disagree that having so very many categories seems to serve the selling of ads, but it also seems that restaurants benefit from the recognition - many of them post their awards in their windows and on their websites.  After all, they are businesses and it never hurts to be given a public thumbs up by the people who actually come in to spend their money.

Even if places like Lumiere and Tojo's are recognized for their reputation rather than the voters' dining experience, that in itself tells us that those are the places the voters likely will choose when they get that promotion or celebrate an anniversary.  And the chefs and owners have evidence that their reputation remains intact. 

And after all, it provides evidence to those who see themselves as more savvy that they are, in fact, staying ahead of the crowd. 

As for what is "independent", well there's lots of other categories, aside from coffee, where you could make the same distinction and argument - just more awards to hand out and more ads to sell.

The West Ender and Vancouver Magazine also have People's Choice awards, it seems like a relatively harmless practice to me.

A balanced overview, barolo.

Perhaps (in addition to the guffaw factor) what interested observers find most offensive about some readers' polls is the pre-selling of self-congratulatory ('Thanks Vancouver for Voting Us No. 1!') advertising to 'award winners' before they are announced to the public. Given the Straight's supposed hipness quotient and investigative, vox populi political writing, do you think it might seem to some observers an abbrogation of integrity? Or merely - like most found art - just a funny kind of self-exposure? They're far from the only guilty party though in this egg and chicken exercise; I can assure you that any self-respecting editor holds his nose while the ad department cracks the yolks.

I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when a friend pointed out an incisive cover feature in the Straight that spoke to the unaffordability of Vancouver real estate. No big news there. But he made a cryptic remark about how helpful the article was - it prevented the colourful condo ads from bumping into each other. (He also pointed out that the Straight's slick new West Broadway offices look every bit as attractive as those aspirational ads.)

Readers' polls--which might well reflect a periodical's demographic--are notoriously unhelpful because of their small sample size: note the number of 'ties'. Also note that periodicals rarely announce the number of total ballots counted, or votes within each category.

They might also be prone to ballot stuffing; a few years ago a downtown French restaurant nearly won 'Best Chinese' in our own readers' poll. Thank a proprietor who got a little overzealous with the photocopier. I don't like most readers' polls for many reasons - not least being that you'd have to offer up one of those condos as a prize in order to harvest an appropriately large sample size. Otherwise, aren't they just a recycling problem? Kinda makes you wish the Colbert Report did food.

Just to be clear, this isn't something just the Straight dreamt up - we do it, the West Ender does too. In fact readers' polls are extant all over this continent; often they tend to dig down to a denominator that might not be as food-savvy as the more silent majority, the one a little too busy to fill out forms enabled to sell someone else's ads back to them.

This year the Straight buffed up their coverage with some credible food and wine commentators discussing their opinions over lunch - and achieving a consensus. The winners seemed interesting choices, but some might wonder about the credibilty-seep of intermingling the two polls. Perhaps ironically, the lunch was convened at a bistro called Shanghai.

Amazing what Macdonald's french fries can do to your hip.

Jamie

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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They might also be prone to ballot stuffing; a few years ago a downtown French restaurant nearly won 'Best Chinese' in our own readers' poll.

Jamie

:laugh: IIRC, Spectra Group's Red Door on Granville Street, was nominated as Golden Plates 2006 Best Asian.

:blink:

"If cookin' with tabasco makes me white trash, I don't wanna be recycled."

courtesy of jsolomon

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They might also be prone to ballot stuffing; a few years ago a downtown French restaurant nearly won 'Best Chinese' in our own readers' poll.

Jamie

:laugh: IIRC, Spectra Group's Red Door on Granville Street, was nominated as Golden Plates 2006 Best Asian.

:blink:

Ethnic cleansing?

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Given the Straight's supposed hipness quotient and investigative, vox populi political writing, do you think it might seem to some observers an abbrogation of integrity? Or merely - like most found art - just a funny kind of self-exposure? They're far from the only guilty party though in this egg and chicken exercise; I can assure you that any self-respecting editor holds his nose while the ad department cracks the yolks.

Well actually I am surprised at how many people see the Straight as anything more than an entertainment weekly, but that is a reflection on me, I suppose. I would guess that the vast majority who pick up the Straight are looking for the reviews and entertainment listings (surely not the ads for the sweetest transexual in the West End).

The juxtaposition of advertising with content in many Vancouver periodicals is chuckle inducing - found art indeed.

Cheers,

Anne

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Given the Straight's supposed hipness quotient and investigative, vox populi political writing, do you think it might seem to some observers an abbrogation of integrity? Or merely - like most found art - just a funny kind of self-exposure? They're far from the only guilty party though in this egg and chicken exercise; I can assure you that any self-respecting editor holds his nose while the ad department cracks the yolks.

Well actually I am surprised at how many people see the Straight as anything more than an entertainment weekly, but that is a reflection on me, I suppose. I would guess that the vast majority who pick up the Straight are looking for the reviews and entertainment listings (surely not the ads for the sweetest transexual in the West End).

The juxtaposition of advertising with content in many Vancouver periodicals is chuckle inducing - found art indeed.

That might have something to do with my age. Once upon a time, the Straight was the default alt-voice in this city. Ir contained a lot of deeply probing investigative reporting, and famously fomented the Tom Campbell/Gastown riot. It also broke a lot of environmental stories 0 remeber Bob Hunter? Is the front end just token lip service now?

As far as food writing is concerned, I think Angela Murrills is one of the most literate culinary journalists in the country. That being said, I wouldn'y envy anyone having to ride shotgun with a readers' poll.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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That might have something to do with my age. Once upon a time, the Straight was the default alt-voice in this city. Ir contained a lot of deeply probing investigative reporting, and famously fomented the Tom Campbell/Gastown riot. It also broke a lot of environmental stories 0 remeber Bob Hunter? Is the front end just token lip service now?

As far as food writing is concerned, I think Angela Murrills is one of the most literate culinary journalists in the country. That being said, I wouldn'y envy anyone having to ride shotgun with a readers' poll.

I'm old enough to remember the the Tom Campbell days too. In fact I was babysitting for some people who got caught in the Gastown riots. They were pretty serious Baptists, so the whole thing was a major trauma for them. Maybe I'm just too old to appreciate the paper - I just look at the food section and the arts stuff, I never bother reading the rest.

Cheers,

Anne

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VanMag did indeed have a Readers' Choice Awards published once a year, but it was never a moneymaker for us for two reasons: first, our Annual (Critics' Choice) Restaurant Awards by far outshadowed the Readers' Choice Awards, and second, we (the sales reps) never knew who won until we saw the published issue. Same holds true for the Restaurant Awards - our editorial department holds its cards very close to its chest in order to prevent the "Thanks to the Little People for Voting Us No. 1" kind of ads that appear besides the results in the Straight and WE. Not necessarily slagging that practice - publishing is, after all, a business, and guess what guys, you wouldn't be reading free publications, or even paid ones, without the advertising sales paying for the editorial salaries, printing costs and overhead. Anything that helps drive ad sales will be on the publisher's radar screen, if not the editor's.

Having said that, I personally find a bit of the 'hold my nose' factor in these kinds of ads, and find it very interesting which establishments choose to place these ads, or perhaps more telling, those who don't. Oh gawd, better take a closer look to see which of my clients I've just pissed off :unsure:

FYI, we have recently decided to cancel our Readers' Choice Awards completely.

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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This thread seems exactly the same as the one that followed last years edition. Right down to the egullet golden plate awards.

[host]

I was thinking the same thing. Funny ... I thought the same thing last year too!

So, in an effort of public service, I have combined all FIVE threads on the Golden Plate Awards.

Enjoy.

A.

[/host]

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Thanks for knitting these together, Arne. I had forgotten that - just a scant two years ago - it was this thread that drew all the attention to that cult favourite, Chatters Restaurant in Richmond, British Columbia. You'll The much-storied F. Morris Chatters, wifr Doris, other family members and colleagues were a little overwhelmed with the initial attention and celebrity status that the Straight's Golden Plate Award delivered (slammed 24/7 with line-ups clear to the border) and of course the family soon came apart at the seams. Life's lotteries can be like that.

F. Morris Chatters is now a park ranger in Estonia; his son Boris has launched a fortified wine called Nunavit (you may have seen the ads "I'll have Nunavit!"). Doris Chatters married Chef Sven and, well known around here, together they launched the Sino-Swedish fusion palace in Richmond called Kung Pow Phat Soy that sustained unemplyed hockey players during The Strike.

For those of you who haven't actually visited (hard to believe), here's the address:

Chatters Restaurant

23180 Gilley Road, Richmond

604-528-9255

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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