Vancouver: Expanded Street Food Program Brings More Options

Chef Vikram Vij


Chef Vikram Vij

Business & food panel to review applications….

Vancouverites will soon have even more choices when it comes to street-food options, as the City calls for applications to its expanded food cart program. This year, the applications will be reviewed by a high-profile panel of experts including well-known Vancouver chefs Vikram Vij and Karen Barnaby.

In January, after reviewing results from last year’s pilot program, City Council voted to expand the street-food program. The expanded program will grow by approximately 20 locations and vendors are encouraged to offer greater food diversity, better nutritional value and menu items featuring local ingredients.

When all the cart spots are filled, there will be close to 100 food vendors on Vancouver’s streets, offering everything from dim sum and southern BBQ, to fresh fruits and vegetables, burritos and a host of other international flavours.

“Our street food program has been a huge hit and I’m excited we’re expanding it this year,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The diversity of food carts on our streets is a great way to enhance our public space and provide a broader range of food options.

“This expansion will provide even more opportunities for local businesses as well as the suppliers, farmers and farmers’ markets who help bring these menus and flavours to Vancouver streets.”

The City would like to hear your opinion on what kinds of food should be offered. Tell us what you think here: Food survey

A panel of food industry and business experts has been selected to evaluate the food cart applications and choose the vendors. City staff will short-list the top 50 submissions and then the food panel will conduct a more detailed scoring of the applications.

The selection panel members are:

· Chef – Vikram Vij, Vij’s and Rangoli restaurants

· Chef – Karen Barnaby, The Fish House in Stanley Park

· Nutritionist – Miel Richtscheid, RHN

· Farmers Markets – Tara McDonald Executive Director, Vancouver Farmers Market Society

· Fair Trade/Sustainability – Andre LaRivière, Executive Director, Green Table Network

· Business Improvement Association – Charles Gauthier, Executive Director, Downtown BIA

· Economic Development – Juvarya Warsi, Policy Analyst, Vancouver Economic Development Commission

· Restaurant Association – Ian Tostensen, President & CEO, BC Restaurant and Food Services Association

· Business Improvement Association – Chef & Chef’s Table Society Neil Wyles, President, Yaletown BIA; Board Member, Chef’s Table Society; Chef and owner, Hamilton Street Grill

· Food Bloggers – James Tabbert & Amy Eagan,

· Member of the public – Claudia Bialostozky, Author of Master’s Thesis on street food vending in Vancouver

Two youth representatives will also be appointed to the panel.

Interested vendors have until 4 p.m. Friday, March 4, to submit an application. The applications will be awarded points for having a Food Safe certificate and food handling qualifications, use of organic, local or fair trade foods, menu innovations, nutritional content, previous vending experience, a business plan, readiness to operate and waste reduction/green packaging.

For a complete list of application requirements and forms, scoring criteria and vending locations, visit: City vending.

The proponent who earns the highest score will be given the first choice of available street food vending locations, the vendor with the second highest score will pick second and so on until the vending spots are filled.

The successful applicants are scheduled to be notified by the end of March. The new food carts are expected to be on the street later this spring.

Council approved the incorporation of the 17 street-food pilot vendors from 2010 into the regular street vending program so those operators are eligible to renew their license and continue to operate.