Cirque du Soleil is back in town with KOOZA and I couldn’t be more excited. Some swear that the VIP experience at Cirque du Soleil is the only way to see a show, and after experiencing it for myself, I’d say that’s a pretty tough statement to argue against.
“KOOZA is a show with a loose storyline that is ageless and can be understood by anyone in the audience,” explains Kait Brudzinski, the VIP Supervisor on the KOOZA Sales and Customer Experience team, “It’s not a love story but rather one of finding your way within the world, which makes it universal.”
I had the chance to try out the VIP experience myself, and talk with chef Taryn Wa, the founder and culinary director of Savoury Chef, to dive into her inspiration behind the unique KOOZA VIP menu and experience.
I approached the KOOZA VIP tent an hour before show time and after being greeted and tickets checked, I was ushered into the warm and cozy tent where a smiling server offered me my choice of champagne, white or red wine.
Upon entering the main VIP area, my senses were greeted by the warm and buttery smell of fresh popcorn, a private bar, and a stylized seating area. Wandering servers holding trays of delicate canapés actively seek out guests.
Alongside the hot and cold canapés being served, a small chef station is set up where a chef is plating individual mini-entrees featuring a beef short rib dish that was inspired by one of the acts within the show. The curtain bell rings and I hurried to fill my glass one more time and grab a fresh box of popcorn before settling into my VIP seat under the big top.
During the intermission, I returned to the VIP tent for another libation and of course, dessert. Delicious lemon tarts, macaron pops, and candied apple profiteroles inspired by the classic caramel apple awaited our arrival. It wasn’t long before the final curtain bell rang indicating it was time for us to return to our seats for the final half of the show. Needless to say, we left KOOZA that night completely and utterly satisfied.
I followed up with Taryn Wa to get more information about Savoury Chef and what they’re doing for KOOZA‘s VIP guests.
How long has you been working with Cirque du Soleil in Western Canada?
Wa: We’ve been catering the VIP Tapis Rouge tent, um this is the third show that we’ve done, so for the past 3 years.
What were you inspired by when creating this menu for KOOZA?
What we like to do is take a look at each of the acts; we look at the visuals from each act as well as the whole theme of the show and see what we can come up with menu wise from there. We find our inspiration on a few different levels.
Besides the menu, what other parts of the VIP experience did you design?
The whole creative part of our work isn’t limited to just the menu; we also came up with all of our serving pieces as well as the uniforms for our servers.
Tell us about a standout element of the KOOZA VIP experience that you think is really special.
Actually someone told us that this was one of the best things they’ve ever eaten and it was our mini plated entree at the chef station in the VIP tent. It’s a glazed beef short rib with potato puree, black garlic smear, and shaved black radish.
It’s delicious, perfect for the season, warm, comforting, and is also presented very elegantly. The inspiration for how this dish looks was actually from an act in KOOZA where people in skeleton outfits are dancing. So the dish is completely black and white with no other colours present. For food to look like that is really visually striking, but then it actually tastes great as well!
What would be another a “must try” item from the KOOZA VIP menu?
Our desserts are also really great and were inspired by a whimsical circus theme. We have an amazing pastry chef named Steven; he’s French and makes amazing macarons!
There’s also this one dessert item that looks like a caramel apple. It’s a little profiterole with a red crunchy topping and is glazed to look really shiny like a caramel apple, but not at all.
Anything else you’d like to say?
This is absolutely the best way to see KOOZA. You get to come in, have some drinks, have some great food and mingle beforehand. You get amazing seats and during intermission you get to come back for dessert, tea and coffee. It’s just a really great experience being in that little tent. You know everybody in there is just having an amazingly fun time; the guests, our servers, our staff, our chefs, everybody loves it and it’s just a really great vibe.
Cirque du Soleil’s KOOZA VIP Experience
When: Now until December 27
Where: Concord Pacific Plaza
Cost: Starting at $245 online
Please visit the Cirque du Soleil website for more information.