Biggest Bite honors events creative founders
This years Bite of Blaine was not only a celebration of Blaines culinary riches but of the people whose idea it was to put them all together in one room. Joe Slevin of Harbor Café couldnt make this years event and Ed Magner of La Bonne Maison wont be here for the next one.
This was their idea, outgoing chamber of commerce president Pam Christianson told a throng of over 300 satisfied grazers at the February 10 event at Resort Semiahmoo.
As outgoing chamber of commerce president in 2001 Magner took Slevins idea for a summer festival celebrating local cuisine and used it to liven up the chambers annual meeting in February. We just threw that first one together in a few weeks but it worked, Christianson said.
Under 100 people came to the first Bite of Blaine but last year the event was swamped by more than twice as many hungry guests. Restaurants ran out of food and people were sitting on the floor. This year organizers planned for the rush and the event went off without a hitch. The 17 local kitchens participating had enough of their wares to keep the hungry diners happy and send them home groaning. The crowd was kept in the foyer until doors opened at 6:30, giving everyone an even chance and with plenty of tables there was no competition over a place to sit.
Christianson and new chamber president Ron Leach honored Magner and his wife Annie not only for coming up with what is fast becoming one of the top local events but to their dynamic support of the community. They have meant so much to this community, Christianson said. The crowd agreed and the Magners were treated to a standing ovation.
The Magner family will be moving to Minnesota at the end of the month where they have been offered an opportunity to start a new restaurant.
Its a big adventure, Annie Magner said. Jim Dorman, chairman of Geographics Inc. became familiar with Ed Magners cooking when he was in Blaine restructuring that company. He fell in love with Eds cooking and has been hounding him for a year and a half, Annie Magner said. Under the umbrella of The Miner Group, which has absorbed the Geographics line, she said they will oversee some of the companys recreational properties while design of a new restaurant is underway and then take over management and open the doors. Ill miss everyone here but were really excited, she said.
The Magners met and married in Blaine in the early 1990s and have owned two local restaurants, Annies Deli and later La Bonne Maison. La Bonne Maison will continue under new owners as will the local Thanksgiving drive the Magners organized. That will live on, Annie Magner said, adding that a new volunteer service group is organizing to continue to deliver Thanksgiving dinner to community members who need a little help.
Leach said that the impact of Ed Magners leadership at the chamber of commerce would also live on. He had the courage to stand pat and make some hard decisions, and as his succesor Pam was very succesful using that foundation and building on it, he said. Thats going to continue. We have a lot of very exciting things coming up in Blaine.