Q&A Session 19: The Collective
It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a fan of a good brunch. After all, we held a brunch awards this year, as well as writing a list of the best avocado brunches in the city. So, as you can imagine, when I found out there was a brunch festival in Vancouver, I was more than a little excited.
Today we catch up with the mad scientists behind The Brunch Affair, Vancouver’s first dedicated brunch festival.
Who are you and where are you from?
Well, where do we even start? There’s EIGHT of us!
The Collective has collectively decided to let Andrew introduce the gang.
Andrew: My name is Andrew, I’m passionate about food, growing local business, and spreadsheets! I hail from the wondrous city of Richmond BC!
We have Jen. Jen’s a hungry (literally & figuratively) serial entrepreneur from small-town Carrot River, SK. Population 1200. Explains her insatiable appetite for perogies! After 4+ years living in Spain, she now spends most of her waking hours Google-ing where to find Iberian ham in Vancouver.
Coffee Snob you say? Snežana is OUR resident coffee wizard and purveyor of all things luxurious. She’s a smooth-talkin’, slick walkin’ head of The Collective Events sponsorship department (of 1).
Maeghan is a force of nature. She’ll dazzle you with her wit and dominate you on the field, court, pitch, anywhere really! When’s she’s not tending to her twin infants girls, she’s the life of the party.
Jess is our out-of-towner, born and raised on the exotic lands of Tsawwassen. She spends her days administering old-school law and order on packs of toddlers (her own and some that she borrows). After years living in Africa, she blesses the rains down on wherever she lives.
Jennie, North Vancouver’s sweetheart. She’s fiercely smart and wicked sharp but still has a light touch. Not only does she handle newborns as a neonatal nurse at her day job, but she’s training to break the world record for “Most kittens stacked on top of one other in 60 seconds”.
Amrit, our Fijian Stallion. Quick with a hammer, slow with a drywall saw. Up until TOO recently, he was famous for still having a Blackberry glued to his hand – fighting all manners of fires and knocking out problems faster than Mike Tyson in his heyday. Tall man. Big heart.
Last but not least, Johnson. Mr. Gadget we call him. Johnson always has the tool for the job. Whether you need a corn peeler or a pancake pen…he once lent us light up LED golf balls for a round of midnight pitch n’ putt. Speaking of which, Johnson is passionate about his LED light bulbs. An LED Light Bulb Appreciation Day might be on The Collective’s calendar of future events.
That’s a pretty diverse lineup! Who’s the best looking out of the group?
Jess: “Easily Amrit. My mom would say Amrit.”
You’re the masterminds/some of the masterminds behind “Brunch Affair”, tell us a little about what we can expect at this event and how you’re differentiating yourself from everyone else.
Jen: We’re going for an elevated food festival experience without the sky-high prices. We don’t believe in charging a pretty penny just to get through the door and we don’t want our guests to spend ages lining up and baking in the sun. That’s why we love the Pipe Shop and the Shipyards so much so we’re back here again this summer! It’s the perfect pop-up location for the type of event we want to bring to the community. Basically the type of event we would want to go to ourselves.
Jess: We’ve invited awesome vendors that are doing their best dishes and giving us a sampler of their brunch repertoires! Plus there are great quality affordable drinks – think $5 Mimosas and $5 Caesars (featuring Walter Craft Caesar mix this year!) There’ll also be live music…and we’re all super good lookin’ so that’s a bonus! Amrit will be there for my mom.
How did you come up with the idea for this event? (this is story time, what you told me over coffee the other day)
Jen: Andrew and I were inspired by the amazing food markets in Spain plus a few years ago on a trip to Berlin, we discovered this hip, modern indoor market/food hall in the neighbourhood, Kreuzberg, called Markthalleneun (Market Hall Nine). Kreuzberg, if you’re unfamiliar, was known for being one of the poorest, most isolated parts of Berlin in the 1970’s. These days it’s an artsy, cultural hub, known for its counterculture and alternative scenes. Markethalleneun is set away from the tourist attractions in Berlin. It’s a bit tricky to find and some would say the area is a bit dodgy but we loved the vibe. The building is stylish and retro, there’s a huge diversity of food stalls serving quality food at reasonable prices. We discovered on our first visit that once a month they do an international breakfast market! We thought to ourselves, this is what Vancouver needs! Vancouverites are crazy about brunch! Like 2-hour line-up crazy!
The atmosphere of Markthalleneun was something we wanted to recreate with the Brunch Affair – fun and laidback, but lively. Welcoming to all, a place where friends and families, even those with small children, could gather and enjoy good food, drinks, and music.
What sustainability steps have you taken to ensure you don’t face the wrath of the city of Vancouver and their single-use container hit squad?
Jess: It’s super important to us. We work closely with all our vendors to put on an event that’s as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible.
Maeghan: All of our events so far have been zero straw events. We were ahead of the curve last year with the banning of straws.
What goes into a good brunch?
Jen: Put an egg on anything!
Jess: Booze, Friends…
Maeghan: Plus, ideally you have nothing you need to do and nowhere you need to go afterwards.
Johnson: Brunch is a special meal because it’s deliberate. It’s an active choice we make to spend time with people we love. Most of us during the busy week will eat breakfast, lunch, even dinner alone or on-the-go. But never brunch. Each time we choose to brunch we are choosing friends and family that we want to bond and share our lives with.
Jen: He’s the sentimental one of the group. The rest of us are cold-hearted and hungry. We just want to eat eggs and drink mimosas.
Rumour has it that world-famous Chef and TV personality Harley Darnel will be making an appearance. What’s he serving up and how do you intend to deal with the pile of ladies swooning at his feet?
Jess: Is Harley famous? Well, he’s serving an Eggwaffle Benny with short rib. We fully INTEND for all the ladies to be swooning at his feet.
What about the future, do you have anything other than Brunch Affair planned?
Jess: We have many affairs coming up in our lives. We’re the affair experts so stay tuned!
Snezana: Some are planned…
Mae: Some we’re executing… Jess: Some are pre-meditated affairs, some are spontaneous affairs, some are love affairs and some are food affairs. Just ‘cuz you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu!
Where is your favourite place in Vancouver to drink coffee?
Jess: JohnnyCantSurf. Wait, JohnnyDontSurf? JohnnyIncapableofSurfing!
Jen: Their stroopwafels are amazing! I wonder if we plug them enough they’ll drive their caravan around every morning and deliver us all coffee at all our individual work places?
If you could have coffee with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Johnson: Anthony Bourdain. His complete spectrum of life experiences, radical candour, and unique wit makes him a person I would love to discuss food, work and life with.
Jennie: Ellen DeGeneres, because she’s funny, a big animal activist, and brings awareness about being “kind to one another”. She is inspirational in her message of love and acceptance along with her emphasis on paying it forward to others.
Jess: Michael Jackson because I need to learn the trick to the perfect moonwalk and I really want the quickest way to being BFFs with Janet! Also to investigate if Ben is actually a rat!?
Jen: Santa Ono, he’s the current President of UBC. I can’t think of another Vancouver-based public figure or leader right now that seems as genuinely kind and compassionate as him. Apparently, if you just tweet at him he’ll invite you to his house!
Andrew: Carly Rae Jepson because “I trade my soul for a wish. Pennies and dimes for a kiss. I wasn’t looking for this, But now you’re in my way”
Amrit: Kermit the Frog because he’s awesome. Period.
Thanks to the gang for spending the time chatting with us today. If you’re interested in attending The Brunch Affair, here are the details:
The Brunch Affair
Dates: July 7-8th 2018
Location: The Pipe Shop, Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver
You can buy tickets here.
To get the latest from the gang you can go stalk them on Instagram here.