Privé hosted the second annual Ottawa NoodleFest this past weekend at the Shaw Centre. Twenty Ottawa and Gatineau chefs and businesses all gathered together under one roof and provided a couple of their dishes for everyone to sample. We sipped. We slurped. We waited in line… a lot.
Anybody familiar with the Ottawa start up company’s past events would have immediately noticed some improvements from its previous ventures, and yet, would have also felt a sense of familiarity as the format was largely unchanged. I do give Privé credit for doing a good job incorporating event-goer feedback: They increased the number of cash bars and provided more tables and seating – it turns out that a hot bowl of noodle soup isn’t exactly the easiest thing to eat standing up.
If you were at any of Privé’s past events, you might have recognized a few vendors that seem to make it out to each ‘fest’, and you almost get a sense that Ottawa foodies have learned through experience which vendors to migrate to as the same two or three vendors consistently attract long lines. Gongfu Bao, of Elgin food cart fame, had one of the longest lines throughout the night. (They were also one of the more popular destinations at the 613 Night Market). But the Laughably Long Line of the Night Award goes to Hot Cream Holes… and it wasn’t even close. By 9pm it had snaked from one end of the room to the other, made a right turn and continued along near the entrances.
NoodleFest had a predominantly Asian influence and the typical cuisines you might expect to see (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese) all represented themselves well. Established local chefs such as Jonathan Korecki were also there to bring his take on a prawn laksa. But this event was clearly not exclusive to Asia as there were also South American vendors Petit Peru and Mambo Nuevo Latino.
So with such a great event with so much to see and do, who were some of the night’s winners and losers?
Winner: Local Chefs & Businesses
A long February chill, and winter in general, doesn’t always bode well for the restaurant industry, and that’s not even considering the dozens of food trucks and carts that are operating around the city. Events like this can help these vendors, especially the smaller cart operators that typically need more moderate temperatures, get through the long winter months while creating some buzz for their brands.
Loser: The Environment
Sadly, we were really disappointed in seeing how much waste was created just from our own samples. Most servings came with a cardboard, plastic, or Styrofoam (!!!) bowl, plastic fork, spoon, or wooden chopsticks. I would venture a guess that the typical attendee would average 4-5 small servings over the course of the evening. With an estimated three thousand guests, we cringed doing the math. Some vendors used eco-friendly cups, which are presumably better for the Earth, but we do hope to see some more sustainable steps taken in the future, especially as popularity for these events increases.
Another successful event under their belt and they really seem to be figuring things out. They put on a great night evidenced by many smiling faces. What’s more, Privé’s events seem to be able to attract a huge following and are a hit among hipsters, yuppies, and foodies alike. If the Wine and Food Festival isn’t really your vibe, then this is the de facto alternative. We came away really enjoying ourselves and we look forward to Privé’s next event, the 613 Night Market on May 2nd.