I really wished I got around to writing about Tasting Tour sooner. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Beta 2 version of the concept last week and it was something I thoroughly enjoyed. The concept of Tasting Tour is the brainchild of Jaime Woo and Naomi The. Jaime led the tour I was on and described it as a food crawl. Given I’ve never had the opportunity to do a bar crawl, I personally compare it to a combination of a tasting menu and and walking tour. The basic idea of tasting tour is that you get to try a number of food venues in a few short hours.
The idea is great especially in a city like Toronto where there are many different ethnic areas and their associated food and there is a very rich variety of food types. For the consumer, it’s a great way to try new restaurants that you otherwise wouldn’t think of trying or sometimes even heard of. For the restaurants, it’s an easy way to market and fill up the restaurants on days that it otherwise wouldn’t be busy. All in all, it’s a win-win situation for both.
Outside of the people I met, the other highlight of my tasting tour was really the interesting information that I learned about the places I went. I like hearing stories about people or things. It provides context of the event. At Tasting Tour, the owner of both an art cafe and vegetarian restaurant talked about why and how they started their restaurants and also a bit about the food that they made. In my mind, it made us connect with the restaurants so much more. At a teahouse, we were given a really long overview of the different teas. It was not that different from a wine tour. It was fascinating from two aspects – there is so much to know about tea and that the people working there are passionate about the product. The end result – many of us ended up buying tea from them. The night came to a perfect end at a pub where the drinking happens.
Outside of the event itself, I am personally quite intrigued by the idea. It’s the first non-tech startup that I am actually quite interested in. While it may not make Jaime and Naomi fabulously wealthy, I think as an event it could be really successful. There are still a number of things for them to work out but it will be very interesting to see how they grow their idea while I quietly root for them.