Presented by 

Thank you to all the guests and partners who supported Sakura Night and made it a success! Your tax receipt will be emailed to you by May 17.

Celebrate the Festival with 8 Top Chefs, May 5 

Sakura Night presented by McMillan LLP is the not-to-be-missed food highlight of Asian-fusion flavours at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. Featuring eight of Vancouver’s top chefs, this gourmet evening of canapes, cocktails, and conversation is your opportunity to savour, celebrate, and support the Festival.

As a charitable society, the Festival holds this fundraiser reception in the spectacular Stanley Park Pavilion to celebrate the 2019 Festival and to present our over 23 free events. Your support is important. Buy a ticket and come celebrate.

 Photos in the gallery are by Cakewalk Media Inc., Leila Kwok (Crowd, Ramen)

***Get your Early Bird Tickets before they are sold out! Receive a 14% discount now!***
Click to get your tickets!

Early bird prices of $150 available now while they last. (Receive a $80 tax receipt.)
Regular tickets are $175 afterwards.

Savour specially created small dishes from these top chefs:

  • Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver – Executive Chef Ken Nakano
  • Black + Blue – Chef de Cuisine Will Lew
  • Benkei Ramen – Executive Chef Taka Omi
  • The Victor at Parq Vancouver – Executive Sushi Chef Kazuhiro Kawamoto
  • Zen Japanese Restaurant – Executive Chef Nobu Ochi
  • Super Hiro – Executive Chef Hiro Watanabe
  • Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar – Pastry Chef Kenta Takahashi
  • Uno Gelato – Gelato Master Andres Bermudez

Sip on these included drinks:

  • Special welcome cocktail: Sakura G+T created by mixologist Christos Kalaitzis with Queensborough Omakase Japanese Style Gin, Central City Brewers & Distillers (Try out the recipe yourself, here!)
  • Winemaker’s CUT wines poured by owner /winemaker Michal Mosny, Deadman Lake Vineyard, Oliver, BC
  • Queensborough Omakase Japanese Style Gin, Central City Brewers & Distillers
  • Sho Chiku Bai Classic Junmai Sake, MIO Sparkling Sake, and Takara Plum wine, D Way Beverage Ltd.
  • Award-winning Queensborough Gin TWST Lime + Cucumber + Mint and FZZZ Lime
  • DayTrip West Coast Lager, Stanley Park Brewing
  • Pinky Tuscadero and Go Easy Pale Ale, Beere Brewing Co.


Sakura G+T cocktail

The Sakura G+T (Photo: Duncan Joseph)

Our Featured Chefs & Their Creations

Benkei Ramen
Chef Taka Omi
Born 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.

  • Tori-Shio Ramen with Cherry Blossom of chicken broth ramen with Fanny Bay Manila clams, bamboo shoot, green onion, sakura flower, gold flakes, medium thick ramen noodles
  • Vegan Black Ramen of vegetable and miso, coconut, black sesame broth with peppers, corn, and medium thick ramen noodles

Chef de Cuisine Will Lew

Growing up in the ‘City of Glass’, Will’s journey into the culinary world started through his grandfather, a chef in Vancouver’s Chinatown, and “head cook” at family dinners. He instilled not only a love for cooking in Will, but an appreciation for expressing oneself through different creative mediums including drawing, painting, woodwork, Chinese calligraphy and music. In 2005, Will took a job as a dishwasher in a local Vancouver restaurant and started to work his way up the ranks to become a cook. In the years that followed, Will’s talent and tireless dedication to his craft would pay off, seeing him as a Chef de Partie for the opening team of Trattoria Italian Kitchen, Chef de Cuisine at Sanafir Restaurant and Outlet Chef at Fairmont Pacific Rim.

    • Truffle and Caviar Tamago:  Edible floral arrangements, matcha “Vase”, fresh wasabi
    • Edible Rock Garden:  “Gravel” infused with yakitori activated charcoal of Japanese milk bread crumbs, dehydrated miso, kabayaki cured egg yolk bottarga, yuzu kosho

Parq Vancouver
Chef Kazuhiro Kawamoto
Chef Kazuhiro Kawamoto is the Executive Sushi Chef at The Victor, award-winning steakhouse at Parq Vancouver.  Hailing from Japan and after graduating from Toyko Sushi Academy in Tokyo, Chef Kazu moved to Vancouver, B.C. in 2008 where he became a line cook at Miku Japanese Restaurant. He continued to hone his craft at Vancouver Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel and Tamaru Shoten Marketing Corp.  Constantly striving to make his sushi beautiful and delicious, he is proud to introduce Japanese ingredients and comfort foods to the Vancouver dining scene.

  • Spicy Tuna “Taco” with avocado, mango, crispy nori
  • Rock The Kaz Bombe of torched prime ribeye, uni & shiso

Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver
Chef Ken Nakano
Chef Ken Nakano’s cuisine is ingredient-driven, first and foremost. A Vancouver native, Nakano was raised in a traditional Japanese household, where he developed an early appreciation for seasonal, home-grown ingredients thanks to foraging and fishing excursions with his family. The importance and respect for culinary traditions were instilled in him by his mother from a young age, and this continues to influence his style today.

With over 20 years of culinary experience, covering all aspects of food and beverage operations, Nakano expresses his food philosophy at Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver with sophisticated yet uncomplicated flavours, and menus that showcase the best ingredients from coast to coast.

With a passion for sustainability, he supports many local farmers, producers and fisherman; he was instrumental in launching the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program on Vancouver Island.

  • Kampachi Aburi with chichimi nori crisp, white soy emulsion
  • Salmon Nanbanzuke with grilled scallion, carrots, espelette pepper

Super Hiro’s
Chef Hiro
Chef Hiroki Watanabe was born in Aichi, Japan. At the young age of 8, he became interested in cooking, reading cookbooks in his spare time. After three years of training at ‘Nadaman’, one of the top restaurants in Japan, he immigrated to Canada in 2000 where he honed his skills at Tojo’s Restaurant for 17 years. In 2017, he proudly opened Super Hiro’s on Broadway to share his culinary visions with Vancouverites.

  • Albacore Tuna Sushi with sesame sauce
  • Hiro’s Fish Nugget

Zen Japanese Restaurant

Chef Nobu Ochi
“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 MagazineZen 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.

  • Zen-Inspired Sushi
  • Prawn Popsicles of skewered, tempura marinated prawns with yuzu, Asian slaw

Boulevard Vancouver Kitchen & Oyster Bar
Pastry Chef Kenta Takahashi

Pastry Chef Kenta Takahashi not only brings the requisite traditional French panache to the line at Boulevard, but his Japanese heritage also lends a modern and sophisticated twist to each exquisite dessert he creates. An award-winning pastry chef in his home country, Kenta worked in a number of restaurants in Tokyo and Kanagawa, Japan before coming to Vancouver and continuing to hone his craft under renowned pâtissier and chocolatier Thierry Busset. Armed with the discerning eye of a true artist and the classic skill and training of a chef, Kenta oversees Boulevard’s menu of tantalizing desserts as well as its varieties of flaky pastries and fresh-baked breads created in-house each day.

  • Lychee Panna Cotta with jasmine tea ice-cream, green tea sauce

Uno Gelato
Gelato Master Andres Bermudez

  • Yuzu Citrus Sorbetto A Japanese lemon with notes of Lime, Grapefruit, & Lemon Zest served in a cup.

Silent Auction Features Celebrated Sculptor Marie Khouri

At this year’s Sakura Night, we will have a selected group of Silent Auction items you can bid on and then take home with you, should you win. The highlight of 2019 is a special unique set of hand-cast copper Cherry Blossom jewelry. These treasures were created especially for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival by celebrated international sculptor and artist Marie Khouri. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to acquire this exquisite Cherry Blossom pendant and bracelet. Imagine what they’d look like on you or your special one! (Photos: Cakewalk Media Inc.)

“By sculpting these small abstract organic forms I gave them eternity…” -Marie Khouri

“I discovered the Cherry Blossoms upon my arrival in Vancouver. Taking inspiration from the blossom flower petals that are so ephemeral and fragile,  I chose to reinterpret its form in my own signature work. Sakura, these small delicate pink flowers produced by the cherry blossom trees, drop to the ground and wither, falling like snow with the ebb and flow of the winds. By sculpting these small abstract organic forms I gave them eternity…”  – Marie Khouri

Marie Khouri Profile

Vancouver-based sculptor, Marie Khouri, represents the broad multicultural and diverse demographic of Western Canada. Born in Egypt and raised in Lebanon, Khouri has developed a vast range of cultural and historical influences within her practice. With a childhood interrupted during the Lebanese Civil War, Khouri was relocated to Spain, Italy and Vancouver, finally settling in Paris where she was classically trained in sculpture at l’École du Louvre. On her return to Vancouver, a retrospective of her life took form in her sculpture, reflecting a passion for innovation and spontaneity.

Khouri’s work resides at the often-tenuous place between art and design, suggesting a lack of countries reminiscent of modernist thinking best epitomized by the Bauhaus School. Despite their formalist impulses, the sculptures she creates are not without feeling. Greatly influenced by Henry Moore’s idea of direct carving, Marie Khouri’s sculptures blend and extend metaphors of language, form and the body to propose an inextricable link – both political and personal – to a life deeply affected by the complex histories of the Middle East; and it is from these histories that her most evocative works emerge, rooted in a profound sense of dislocation and a search a greater sense of place. Each sculpture is formed through an extensive hands-on process that employs traditional sculpting techniques alongside contemporary innovations in material and building standards. Her timeless and unconstrained forms remain firmly situated in the contemporary moment, pushing the barriers of the medium where the surfaces reveal the entire process and the finished sculpture reveals the evolutionary method by which it was created.

“A celebration of culture and cuisine.”

  • Read our latest press release: Eight Vancouver Chefs Unite to Support Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival at Sakura Night Gala
  • Watch Black+Blue Chef de Cuisine Will Lew prepare one of his dishes on Thursday’s CTV Morning News Live:

Promotional Partners: Wedgewood Hotel & Spa and Oxford Properties Group

Sakura Night Committee: Tracy Penner, Linda Poole, Andrea Hill, Chelsea Dill, and Sally Grad-Jung.

Read more

*A charitable tax receipt for approx. $80 will be issued to you after the event, on request. Proceeds go towards the non-profit and charitable Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF), intra-community art and cultural festival vital for community engagement, multiculturalism, the arts, and the environment. 

Programs subject to change.

All event titles are protected trademarks of the Festival