November 12, 2009

Foodie Fundraiser

How much do I love my job? Last week I was invited to join in the foodie fundraiser of the year, where I feasted on perfect dishes made by the city’s 20 best chefs. Now that’s a good workday!

Photo Blog November 13 The Stop Book Cover

“What’s on the Table” is The Stop Community Food Centre’s annual fundraiser, and the see-and-be-seen food event of the year. The Stop is a Toronto organization that believes healthy food is a basic human right. Their programs aim for real change to the underlying causes of hunger and poverty. So yes, there is a drop-in centre and a food bank, but there are also kitchens where people can learn to cook and gardens where they can learn to grow nutritious foods. The Stop doesn’t just provide good food, it encourages and educates people to procure and prepare those foods themselves. Talk about empowering!

Photo: Gardens to learn to grow nutritious delicious foods

Naturally, I’m a huge fan. To me, cooking and enjoying healthy delicious food is the single best way for families, friends and even strangers to spend time together.

Photo: perfect dishes to sample

But back to the food: for the fundraiser, each chef prepares one wonderful dish to sample. Between the event’s atmosphere of generosity and the chefs’ good-natured competitiveness, the food turns out to be spectacular.

Photo: Golden tea biscuits with homemade butter

My favourite this year was Jonathan Gushue’s heavenly little dish of braised French lentils, vegetables and pork terrine. He is the chef at Cambridge’s Langdon Hall, but a Newfoundlander through and through, so he served this with golden tea biscuits and — yum! — homemade butter (above).

Photo: homemade Lyonnals sausage in brioche

Photo: Claudia Egger's pecan bars

Other highlights were Tom David’s salt cod and chorizo fritters, Anthony Walsh’s braised short ribs with jalapeño salsa, Mark Cutrara’s homemade Lyonnais sausage in brioche (above) and Claudia Egger’s pecan bars (above). And of course, getting a chance to chat with my friend and former H&H food editor, Lucy Waverman.

Photo: Claire and Lucy Waverman

Learn more about The Stop’s empowering programs. They also recently published a terrific cookbook, Good Food For All (2009 The Stop), which would make an ideal gift for the caring foodies in your life.

Photo credits:
1. Good Food For All (2009 The Stop)
2. Greenhouse image from The Stop
3. Claire Tansey
4. Jonathan Gushue’s braised French lentils, vegetables and pork terrine, photography by Claire Tansey
5. Mark Cutrara’s Lyonnais sausage in brioche, photography by Claire Tansey
6. Claudia Egger’s pecan bars, photography by Claire Tansey
7. Claire Tansey and Lucy Waverman