The idea behind The Paisley Notebook is to bring people together, one bite-sized story and pop up dinner at a time. During my 7.5 months of travel, I learned how the actions of one person can make a difference. So, if you want to do something, well, just do it!
In 2015, I wanted to unite an all-female lineup for a special women in food and drink inspired dinner, but then a little somebody decided to sell her restaurant and travel around the world instead. And so, in September, 2016, I started to piece together the framework of this event idea again.
Whilst I was travelling, my friend’s step daughter ended her battle with mental health challenges and committed suicide. Her last wish was written on a piece of paper with torn edges, it read: “Please tell the truth about why I died. We need to open up the conversation”. #BeBoldForChange was my little way to help and start the conversation.
On March 8, 2017, we marked International Women’s Day at Quails’ Gate Winery with a collaborative dinner menu where 100% of the proceeds (after operating costs) went to the Canadian Mental Health Association and Slow Food Thompson Okanagan. Here’s how the magical night unfolded:
First course: Aman Dosanj – The Paisley Notebook
“The Oak Tree” with Okanagan Vegetable ‘Ishtew’, Rice Cracker paired with 2015 Quails’ Gate Rosemary’s Block Chardonnay
Second course: Mona Johannson – Sunshine Farm
Sunshine Farm fire roasted Heirloom Tomato and Carrot Soup, crispy Radish, Micro Cilantro and house-made Wild Sourdough paired with 2015 JoieFarm Noble Blend
Third course: Dana Ewart – Joy Road Catering
Salmon Roe, lightly smoked and seared local Arctic Char, Scallion Puree, house-cultured Crème Fraîche, Potato Rosti, naturally fermented Carrots and Turnips with 2016 Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Rosé
Forth course: Jenna Pillon – Terrafina at Hester Creek Winery
Wild Moon Pork Loin, house-made Fennel Bacon, Crispy Polenta, smoked Carrots, Celeriac Puree, summer Blueberry Jus paired with 2014 Roche Wines Pinot Noir
Fifth course: Sandrine Raffault – Sandrine French Pastry & Chocolate
Berry Pistachio Mascarpone Mousse, Raspberry Sorbet, Okanagan Noir Macaron paired with 2015 Quails’ Gate Botrytis Affected Optima
One dinner – 5 female Chefs, 4 female Winemakers, 8 volunteers, 39 guests, 1 silent auction and a whole lot of edible storytelling. On International Women’s Day, 2017, we celebrated the talent of the Okanagan Valley, broke down stereotypes and did some good. Together we raised $7,709.87 for the Canadian Mental Health Association and Slow Food Thompson Okanagan. #BOOM!
The best thing is that Aaron, the brave CMHA Wellness Centre participant who told his story, got a job because of our dinner! This wasn’t a Winemakers Dinner or an event where you bought tickets because it was for charity and then forgot about the charity, it was much more than that. Our chosen charities were front and centre because that is how it should be. We made a lot of people warm and fuzzy that night and even received a standing ovation!
Thank you to everyone that helped me bring this little idea to life.
Aman Dosanj | The Paisley Notebook
Mona Johannson | Sunshine Farm
Dana Ewart | Terrafina at Hester Creek
Sandrine Raffault | Sandrine French Chocolate & Pastry
Nikki Callaway | Quails’ Gate Winery
Heidi Noble | JoieFarm Winery
Severine Pinte | Le View Pin Winery
Pénélope Roche | Roche Wines