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Best of the West Coast featured at Cornucopia

Preparations are well underway for Cornucopia, Whistler's Food and Wine Celebration Nov. 8-11, 2001. Epicurean enthusiasts from across the continent will gather for the four-day Tourism Whistler event, which features wine tastings, food and wine seminars, celebrity chef showcases and winemaker dinners.

"Whistler is a haven for five star dining and Cornucopia provides a venue to experience the beauty and excitement of the mountain resort, along with the food and wine specialties of the West Coast," says Gwen Young, manger, Festivals Experience at Tourism Whistler. "The event features presentations by some of the area's most acclaimed chefs, and wine tasting by more than 50 select vintners from the renowned wine regions of British Columbia, Washington, and California."

Cornucopia opens Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Westin Resort & Spa with a Preview Grand Tasting featuring wines from some of the 50-odd wineries attending the festival, such as Summerhill (B.C.), Mission Hill (B.C.), Chateau Ste. Michelle (Washington), and Bonny Doone Vineyards (California).

The weekend continues with the Crush! wine tasting event on Friday at the Westin. Host to 1,000 guests, this gala is a vibrant and inviting marriage of food and wine combining a grand tasting, gourmet grazing, live entertainment, and a silent auction. The evening continues after Crush!, with a Wine Rave at the Bearfoot Bistro, featuring live entertainment, party atmosphere and boutique B.C. wine tasting.

A-la-carte seminars on Saturday are led by industry experts showcasing food and wine trends and topics such as a coffee, cigar, and truffle seminar at the eclectic Havana Room; a bread workshop by Vancouver's Ecco Il Pane; a chocolate and dessert wine seminar with Roger's Chocolates, B.C.'s original chocolatier, and Comaraderie Cellars; and many other food and wine sessions to learn, taste and enjoy. The weekend will serve up favourites from previous years including Chocolate!, Rustic Breads from Scratch, and The Art of Sushi. Seminars will take place in various venues in the village including the popular new Whistler Cooking School.

Cornucopia presents a Chef "Cook Off" featuring chefs from the Table Top Group of restaurants, which include Araxi (Whistler), Ouest (Vancouver) and Blue Water (Vancouver). A wide array of Winemaker Dinners will take place Saturday night at Whistler restaurants such as the Aubergine Grill, La Bocca and Araxi. There will be various levels of dinners – bronze, silver, gold, and platinum – to appeal to varied tastes and audiences. The festival wraps up with Sunday Brunch events including one at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort, famous for its brunch.

Fast food chain apologizes for McFix

The Hamburglar is real, and Big Mac is bringing him to justice.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain is apologizing to customers around the world after it was revealed that a group of eight subcontractors were fixing contests, taking more than $13 million in cash and prizes.

No McDonald’s employees appear to be involved in the scam, but employees of the fast food chain’s marketing agency were. The were charged with the distribution of game pieces throughout North America, but withheld some of the winners and then staged photographs of supposed winners.

To make up for the damage to its reputation, the chain will start a new contest with $10 million in prizes.

WCB smoking ban may be amended

With only weeks to go before amended workplace smoking regulations come into effect on Sept. 15, Graham Bruce, the minister responsible for the Workers Compensation Board, has hinted that the Liberals may make exceptions for bars and restaurants in rural northern areas.

Under the current pending regulations, bars and restaurants would have to build a separately ventilated area if they wanted to allow smoking indoors, and serving staff could not be sent into those areas.

Bruce is looking into the possibility of allowing smoking areas on patios, and for allowing air exchange systems inside bars, provided they passed a test.

When the ban was first introduced on Jan. 1, 2000, bars in the northern part of the province were hardest hit. From the beginning, the bars argued they should be exempt because of unique circumstances – namely the often inhospitable climate and the high population of smokers.

An official announcement is expected by the end of the week.