Deborah Son

Canada’s Foodie of the Year picks Vij’s

Deborah Son

Deborah Son of Winnipeg is Canada’s Foodie of the Year. She won for her submission that nominated Segovia for inclusion in the 2013 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide. (Photo by Deborah Son)

Report by Staff


Vikram Vij greets guests to his restaurant, one of Vancouver’s most popular spots. (Adrian Brijbassi/

As Canada’s Foodie of the Year, Deborah Son could have chosen anywhere in Canada for the dinner of a lifetime. Her choice is one of Vancouver’s most beloved restaurants. Son, a 21-year-old student from Winnipeg, will dine at Vij’s in mid-August, part of her grand prize in the contest that had more than 8,000 entries from across Canada.

“I love Indian food but have never had the chance to go to an Indian fusion restaurant. The menu at Vij’s looks beautiful but my decision was definitely influenced by the fact that it was voted No. 1 last year on the 50 list as well as No. 3 this year,” said Son, who will also enjoy a four-night luxury stay at the Loden Hotel, an exquisite boutique property near Coal Harbour that is the sponsor hotel of the prize.

In 2012, was the first publication to rank the Top 50 Restaurants in Canada, and Vij’s came out ahead of all other establishments in a vote by judges and the public. This year, it finished third behind Montreal’s Joe Beef and Langdon Hall of Cambridge, Ontario. Its selection as Son’s choice for dinner in the first Foodie of the Year Contest has thrilled owner Vikram Vij.

“I am highly honoured that she chose us. It is a great compliment,” the celebrity chef said when he was told of Son’s selection. “I will make sure she is well taken care of and leaves here well fed.”

Son, a devoted foodie, says she plans to dine with her mother and enjoy her first visit to Canada’s west coast. A committee of editorial members chose Son’s piece because of the quality of her writing in her submission that nominated Segovia Tapas Bar & Restaurant in Winnipeg for inclusion in the 2013 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide.

“Deborah’s piece showed passion for cuisine as well as exceptional writing skills,” Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi said. “When you read her account of her dining experience at Segovia, you want to immediately book a reservation. That’s the power of honest writing and the hallmark of someone who loves to dine out.” [Read Deborah Son’s winning entry here.]

Winnipeg Student is Canada’s Top Foodie

Son said she has been ecstatic since learning the news of her prize. In Vancouver, she will benefit from the Loden Hotel’s proximity to Canada Place, the seawall and the downtown attractions. The hotel, which is known for its environmentally friendly practices, also offers its guests complimentary car service in the downtown core, meaning Son and her mother can visit popular spots like Gastown, Yaletown and Stanley Park with ease.

“It feels incredible,” Son says of her victory, which was announced last month, shortly after the 2013 list was revealed. “It came as a complete surprise to me. The other two finalists had submitted such beautifully written pieces that I felt I did not stand a chance. I am so honoured to have been chosen by the judges on the basis of my writing. This is the first time I have won a contest; what a contest to have won!”

Runners-up Jo-Ann Samo, who recommended Joe Beef, and Holly Fraughton, who wrote on dining experiences across Canada, will receive gifts from Magellan’s, a well-known travel supply company.

Son, meanwhile, will indulge in one of her favourite pastimes: fine dining.


Many of the spacious and modern suites guests can enjoy at the Loden Hotel feature views of Coal Harbour. (Photo courtesy of Loden Hotel)

“The experience of dining out is unlike any other,” said Son, who will begin law school at the University of Manitoba this fall.

“It is an opportunity to simultaneously engage every sense of the human body in harmony. It is an adventure involving the exploration of different cuisines with wonderful company. I believe it is one of the most social but intimate interactions that one can have with other people. It is breathtaking to witness the creativity that stems from the mind of a chef come alive on the plate in front of you.”

Son will be writing about her journey on and tweeting about her experiences (@SulkiSon). Be sure to follow what life is like as Canada’s Foodie of the Year.

Her visit to Vancouver is scheduled to begin on August 21.


More About the Foodie of the Year Contest’s 2013 Foodie of the Year Contest features a Grand Prize of Dinner for Two at the restaurant of the winner’s choice, round-trip airfare to that restaurant’s destination city and a four-night luxury stay.

To be eligible for the 2013 Canadian Foodie of the Year Contest, entrants had to:
  • Vote for their favourite restaurant by emailing
  • Follow on Twitter (@VacayCanada)
  • Friend on Facebook (
  • Tell editors about their great culinary experiences and why you should be Foodie of the Year!

Votes from the public were added to those of the academy of judges and used to determine the 2013 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada List, which included a second annual People’s Choice winner, this year won by the Mono Cliffs Inn.

Secondary prizes were sponsored by Magellan’s.

More About the Top 50 Restaurants in Canada

The Canadian public teamed with 34 of the nation’s top food experts to provide the most definitive resource to fine dining in the country ever published. revealed the 2013 list via a video series published on May 1 that named five restaurants at a time. View all segments here:

Restaurants 1-5: Joe Beef, Langdon Hall, Vij’s, Atelier and CHARCUT are featured
Restaurants 6-10: 
See the video covering Toronto’s favourite and others
Restaurants 11-15: 
See the video covering 5 great chefs
Restaurants 16-20: 
See the video covering the 2013 People’s Choice winner
Restaurants 21-25: 
See the video featuring Araxi in Whistler, B.C.
Restaurants 26-30: 
See the video showing Brooklyn Warehouse in Halifax
Restaurants 31-35: 
See the video featuring Momofuku in Toronto
Restaurants 36-40: 
See the video and read about the top restaurant in New Brunswick
Restaurants 41-45: See the video for these restaurants
Restaurants 46-50: See the video covering the beginning of the countdown

Runner-up restaurants 51-100 were also named. They can be found by scrolling down on the Top 50 Restaurants webpage.

More About Vij’s


Vij’s chicken curry is made from a family recipe and is one of the restaurant’s most popular menu items. (Julia Pelish/

Chefs/Owners: Vikram Vij, Meeru Dhalwala
Telephone: 604-736-6664. Twitter: @Vijs_restaurant
2013 Rank: 3; 2012 Rank: 1
Price range: $24-$29.50 for main courses.
You Must Order: The famous lamb popsicles, which are a rack of lamb served with curry and meant for eating with your hands using the rib bone as a stick. ($28)
Need to Know … from Judge Renée Suen of Toronto Life: Unquestionably an institution that is quintessentially Canadian in ideology, hospitality, embrace of ingredients and sensibility. The cuisine is refined, yet highly approachable. Musts: lamb popsicle or, even better, the curry goat, and the complimentary chai.
Ontario Regional Chair Rebecca LeHeup of Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance says: Hospitality at it’s finest. Chef Vij is often onsite greeting guests at the door. Waiting for your table is a treat as staff bring around pakoras, samosas and other bites in their lounge. The room seems to be constantly busy yet you feel like you are in your own little world once your meal arrives- this is hands down the best Indian food I’ve ever had!

See a video of Vikram Vij cooking in Niagara, Ontario, and read about what being named’s No. 1 in 2012 meant to him.

More About the Loden Hotel

Location: 1177 Melville Street, Vancouver, BC
Reservations: Telephone 877-225-6336 (toll free) or book online
Room Rates: Nightly rates in the summer start at around $299, depending on the date of arrival. Coverage of the Loden Hotel: Read “Loden Hotel has Vancouver Covered” by West Coast Sports Editor Miguel Strother.

More coverage of Vancouver and the Loden is coming soon on


Map Showing Directions from the Loden Hotel to Vij’s

View Larger Map

Vicky is the worldly publisher of Having graduated from McGill University in Montreal, she has set about building a talented team of travel experts to deliver to you words and images of the very best places to see and experience in Canada. Based in Yorkville in Toronto, Vicky regularly jet sets around Canada — be sure to catch up with her when she's in your part of the country.

One Comment

  • Mary Sohn

    June 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    OMG SULKI!!! We’re so proud of you!! If you weren’t going to law school I would have snatched you up as a copywriter. You’re SO AMAZING!!


Leave a Reply