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Now Richmond's tourism bureau is ready to put its money where our mouths are. It's ready to pay $50,000 to a food blogger to spend a year eating at a different Richmond restaurant every day for a year. The city has more than 800 eateries.
Tourism Richmond is launching global auditions to find the lucky gastronome.
"Boasting over 400 Asian eateries within a population of 200,000 and renowned for having some of the best Chinese cuisine in the world, Richmond is a hidden gastronomic gem that's a must-add to any West Coast visit," the tourism agency said in its news release.
The one-year contract includes an apartment, living expenses, a daily stipend to cover all those restaurant meals and a membership to the Richmond Olympic Oval fitness centre "to help burn off all those daily restaurant samplings."
"Our culinary offerings are like none other and we believe the best way to demonstrate that is through the eyes and stomach of an online foodie presence," Tourism Richmond executive director Tracy Lakeman told the Richmond Review.
"Our ideal Richmond foodie blogger will be a great communicator, social media savvy, and most importantly, be open-minded and willing to try new things," Lakeman said. "We know we have some of the best Asian cuisine on the globe and this is the ideal time to showcase it — all of it."
Restauranteur David Chung loves the idea.
"By bragging about Richmond to the world, it will really help (to get) people coming here," said Chung, president of the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Café Owners Association and owner of Jade Seafood Restaurant.
Tapenade Bistro owner Vince Morlet said the blog also might open the eyes of local residents, who often stick to one style of cuisine.
Richmond was a sleepy Vancouver suburb until the 1990s, known as a bedroom community and for its berry and vegetable farms. But an huge influx of Asian immigrants, first from Hong Kong before China resumed control of the British colony in 1997, then from mainland China and Taiwan, transformed the city and its food culture.
"For sure, Richmond-Vancouver has the best food outside of Hong Kong," Chung told the Vancouver Province.
Richmond's profile-raising effort is modeled on a successful project by Vancouver International Airport, which co-incidentally is located Richmond. The airport authority hired Vancouver resident Jaeger Mah to spend 80 days and nights there, sleeping in the posh Fairmont hotel attached to the international terminal, and blog about the people and places he encountered.
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