Sakura Night celebrates eight of Vancouver’s top local restaurants through an exquisite evening of Asian-fusion flavours.

Purchase Tickets Here (Ticket links will be live in the New Year): $150 plus tax of $2.50, with a $100 charitable tax receipt issued at the event. Proceeds go towards the non-profit and charitable Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF), an intra-community arts and cultural Festival vital for community engagement, multiculturalism, the arts, and the environment.

 Click to see 2017 menu hereSakura Night Menu

2017 Sakura Night Gala Food Collage Photo Credit: Leila Kwok

 Meet Our 2017 Chefs!
 Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio Ancora Waterfront Dining + Patio: Chef Ricardo Valverde
2-1600 Howe St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2L9Originally from Lima, Peru, Ricardo Valverde brings more than a decade of progressive culinary experience to the tables of Ancora. With an innate flair for flavour combinations, this eager young chef got his start at one of Steveston Village’s well-known fish and chips shops while still in high school. After advancing up the culinary ladder at the likes of the Stanley Park Pavillion, CinCin Ristorante and the Metropolitan Hotel’s Diva at the Met, he was awarded the position of chef de cuisine/executive sous chef at the regionally renowned Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar. During Ricardo’s five-year stint in the kitchen, he helped Blue Water rack up several notable accolades, including a Gold Plate Medal Award in 2010, Vancouver Magazine’s Best Seafood Restaurant Gold award four years running, and the publication’s Restaurant of the Year Silver award in 2011.
Bella Gelateria Bella Gelateria: James Coleridge
1001 West Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6C 0B7Vancouver’s world-famous gelato maker, James Coleridge, was named the 2014 International Gelato Master of the Year in Italy. A graduate of the Italian Institute for Advanced Culinary & Pastry Arts and Italy’s Gelato University, Maestro James opened Vancouver’s first Bella Gelateria in June 2009. He has received international, national and local awards for his artisan in-season handcrafted gelato. Winner of two gold medals at the 2013 Florence, Italy Gelato Festival (Technical Jury and People’s Choice Award), he was named one of Canada’s top 20 food artisans by Ace Bakery in Toronto.
benkeitaka Benkei Ramen: Chef Taka Omi
545 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z 0B4Born and raised in Tokyo Japan, Chef Takayuki (Taka) Omi found his passion for food early in life. After sharpening his skills in Japan’s restaurant scene and at the Yamaha Resort in Tsumagoi, he made his way to Toronto, where he honed his craft at a small Japanese restaurant under his mentor, Chef Okada. In 2010, the ‘West Coast called’ and Taka moved across country to open The Lobby Lounge in the Fairmont Pacific Rim where he has since held the reigns of Sushi Chef. His passion for spreading Japanese cuisine has also led him to Benkei Ramen, where he dedicates several hours a week to producing authentic and quality ramen for Vancouverites to enjoy. When Taka isn’t rolling and slicing, he takes his talents to the classroom and shares his skills; teaching sushi classes for adults and children with proceeds going to the Red Cross Relief Fund.
hapa Hapa Izakaya: Chef Takayuki Sato
1193 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5P6Chef Takayuki was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. He started working at Hapa Izakaya in 2007 at the Kitsilano location. In 2012, Chef Sato then moved to Toronto to open a new Hapa Izakaya where he progressed as Head Chef and stayed until 2014. Soon after he moved to Melbourne, Australia where he worked at a Japanese restaurant and studied “Kappo.” A Kappo chef is trained to master numerous ways of cooking and to understand the seasonality of food, the quality of ingredients and the presentation.Chef Sato gets his inspiration from others around him. He is surrounded by many talents and has learned many different cooking styles from all around the world such as Japanese, Italian, Mexican and Korean. You can find Chef Sato’s delicious creations at Hapa Izakaya in Yaletown. He’s the one with the big smile!
Masayoshi Masayoshi: Chef Masayoshi Baba
4376 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5V 4G3Chef Masayoshi Baba was born with great passion of Japanese cuisine with nearly 20 years of kitchen and sushi experience. Since residing in Vancouver, he has received tutelage and 10 years of valuable experience at one of North America’s foremost sushi restaurants. In 2015 he opened Masayoshi and began to serve omakase, an unique dining experience based on seasonal ingredients. Masayoshi proudly uses his knowledge of different cultural cooking techniques to bring out the very best flavours in his food creations.
Prestons Restaurant & Lounge Prestons Restaurant & Lounge: Chef Justin Paakkunainen
1177 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6E 2P4

Chef Justin Paakkunainen is the Executive Chef for the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel by APA.  Justin was a chef in the Okanagan for 5 years before moving to Vancouver, where he enjoyed the bounty of local and farm fresh ingredients that were at his doorstep. In Osoyoos, Justin was integrated into the food scene – often hosting cooking classes, at-home dinners, as well as supporting local charities through food drives/events. Educated at George Brown College in Toronto, he knew from a young age that his ambitions would lead him to the culinary world. Chef began his career in Thunder Bay, Ontario as a young apprentice. His career carried him from Ontario to Alberta, and then finally to B.C., where he ultimately found his place in Vancouver. Here at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel by APA, Chef Justin aspires to grow and establish our brands ‘Refreshingly Local’ concept as he brings his own personal touch to our Vancouver flagship hotel. Justin enjoys creating simple, fresh dishes using creative, local ingredients.  Justin spends his leisure time cooking for friends, cultivating vegetables, hiking, travelling, and exploring Vancouver’s diverse food scene. 


Zakkushi: Chef Ryu Yamamura
4075 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P5Chef Ryu Yamamura was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan where he received authentic training from local masters to become a renowned Yakitori Chef. After opening and running Okada Ryuhei, his own yakitori venture in Japan for two years, Yamamura was attracted to life overseas and decided to pursue the Canadian food scene and spread the joy of yakitori. After arriving in Vancouver, he’s been the head chef at Zakkushi on Main St. ever since!

Zen Japanese Restaurant

Zen Japanese Restaurant: Chef Nobu Ochi
2232 Marine Dr, West Vancouver, BC V7V 1K4

“The opportunity to sample Chef Nobu Ochi’s exquisitely crafted, beautifully plated selection of sashimi, sushi, and innovative maki is well worth a trek across the bridge.” – Vancouver Magazine

Zen Japanese Restaurant, the critic’s choice as the North Shore’s best Japanese restaurant, also won the 2014 Diners’ Choice OpenTable Award and was Vancouver’s first Japanese restaurant to join Ocean Wise, a Vancouver Aquarium program committed to the long-term health and stability of the greater marine ecosystem.

“Best sushi ever…I’m addicted.”  Sarah McLachlan