Friday Lunch with John Orysik at Tuc Craft Kitchen

The Friday Lunch is a focus on the restaurant’s Lunch menu along with the Interview of a notable Business or Cultural leader who is joining me as my guest at restaurants in and around Vancouver. Each of the places I visit is unique for what is offered along with the type of service and selection of dishes.

For my tenth Friday Lunch in this series, I was joined by Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Co-Founder & Media Director, John Orysik over lunch at Tuc Craft Kitchen. 

John Orysik

John Orysik was born and raised in Vancouver, he was the Vancouver correspondent at Coda Jazz Magazine in the late 70’s. He got into broadcasting and hosted jazz radio shows beginning in 1980. He then joined up with friends Ken Pickering and Robert Kerr and founded Coastal Jazz in 1986. He is the Co-founder and media director of the Coastal Jazz & Blues Society and the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

You can follow the Vancouver International Jazz Festival on twitter @vanjazzfest

Have you always had an interest in music?

Ever since I was a teenager, I had a passion for it.

What type of music did you listen to growing up?

Pop music, when FM came into being, the underground 60’s stuff – jazz & classic eclectic mix, being able to choose. Bands such as the Grateful Dead, Jimmy Hendrix, Joan Baez, Muddy Waters, Howly Wolf, Charles Menges, Miles Davis, John Coltrane …….

How did you end up co-founding the Vancouver International Jazz Festival?

I was the Vancouver correspondent at Coda Jazz Magazine, long-time friend Ken Pickering was opening a Jazz Record Store. I wanted to get into broadcasting. In 1980 Cjazz radio station started and it paid well. Brought Robert Kerr into the fold with us two, talking jazz shows and festival to do concerts all year round and that is how it came to be in the late 70’s and 80’s.

What challenges a festival such as yours today in Vancouver?

  • Economic challenges
  • More competition for the entertainment
  • Rising costs for artists, venues, services
  • Since we are an iconic festival in Vancouver, we are fortunate to have attracted major sponsorship over the years, to enhance what we do and individual donors – options for the future.

What do you look for when working with media to promote the Vancouver International Jazz Festival?

To make sure they understand our message, what we do and how we do it for the community. Brings in 35 million dollars to the region annually. In terms of culture we are helping to define Vancouver as a tourism/cultural leader in the city. Creates harmony with the people in the city. Different ethnicities, age group. Music is a social give, looks past our differences and sees what we have in common. Human connection. This is what I want the media to understand.

If you could estimate the number of concerts you have seen how many would that number be?


If you could tell me about 3 of your favourite concerts of all time which ones would those be?

1)    Caetano Veloso (from Brazil) –amazing, spellbound –at the Vogue Theatre in 1997 – so rare, only time they ever played in Vancouver.

2)    Sun Ra Arkestra – at the Commodore Ballroom in 1989/90

3)    Art Blakely’s Jazz Messengers in San Francisco in the mid 1970’s

What are your favourite foods?

  • Cook and eat a lot of Italian –fish, potatoes, salads
  • Ukranian (ancestoral food) –borscht, perogies with sauerkraut
  • Pan Asian cooking (Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian)

What are your favourite restaurants in Vancouver?

  • Tacofino Cantina
  • Campagnolo Roma
  • Peaceful Restaurant

Asparagus Soup

Parsnip Fries

Vegetable Gumbo

Chicken Confit Sandwich

John had the Asparagus Soup, and Richard had the Parsnip Fries to start. John then had the Vegetable Gumbo while Richard had the Chicken Confit Sandwich with salad.

What do you do in your off time?

  • Cycle a lot
  • Swimming
  • Reading (Dorris Bessy and Paul Auster)
  • Listen to music
  • Cooking

Who are your favourite jazz musicians?

  • John Coltrane
  • Miles Davis
  • Han Bennink

If you weren’t working in music festivals, what would you be doing?

Actor or Broadcaster

Who are your mentors?

Fraser Nicholson (he owned the Record Gallery on Robson Street) he taught me a valuable lesson that has been with me my whole life.

What has inspired you lately in general?

The sense of community that I see, especially at our huge outdoor concerts –all ages, people who love the music, smiles, appreciation, recognition, makes me feel like anything is possible.

How many entertainers/groups approach your festival?

Hundreds and hundreds of submissions

Tell me about the 2013 Vancouver International Jazz Festival, what are some of the highlights that we should know?

  • Herbie Hancock
  • Esperanza Spalding
  • Youn Sun Nah from Korea
  • The whole Innovation series
  • Vijay Iyer Trio

What does the Vancouver International Jazz Festival want to accomplish over the next few years?

Maintain the level of artistic excellence that we have been able to be associated with the last 28 years. Want to continue to be a state of the art event, discover new music, present music they already know. Meet new people, local and international community. Put Vancouver on the map as a cultural and recreational centre.

Style: A La Carte

Attire: Casual

Time: Tues-Sun  11:30am – 3pm

Tuc Craft Kitchen

60 West Cordova St, Vancouver

For Reservations Call: 604-599-8999


Twitter: @TucRestaurant

Stay tuned to my next guest Interview along with the next Friday Lunch in and around Vancouver.

By: Richard Wolak

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