The moment we said goodbye to our last guests at the inaugural International Women’s Day collaboration dinner, I started thinking about what I could do for 2018’s dinner.
Let me rewind to give you a little context. Whilst I was travelling, my friend’s step daughter ended her battle with mental health challenges and committed suicide; she was on three wait lists. 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”. I may not have been able to donate, but I could get my friends together to cook. #BeBoldForChange was my little way to start the conversation, just like Georgia requested.
On March 8, 2018, we marked International Women’s Day at Tantalus Vineyards. This is a dinner where, every year, 100% of the proceeds (after operating costs) goes to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Karis Support Society and Slow Food Canada. This time, I wanted to bring together a lineup from Alberta and BC. Leah Massey (Biera), Erin Pickering (Nicole Gourmet), Jinhee Lee (Foreign Concept), Tina Tang (Predator Ridge) and I (The Paisley Notebook), together with Winemakers Dave Paterson and Stephanie Mosley (Tantalus Vineyards), Jacq Kemp (Moraine Estate Winery), Severine Pinte (Le Vieux Pin Winery), Pénélope Roche (Roche Wines), all united for the cause.
Here’s how the magical night unfolded:
First course: Leah Massey | Biera, Edmonton
‘I’m An Onion Kind of Girl’. Biera Sourdough, Onion Cream, Pickled Onions, Leek Oil, Saskatoon Berry paired with Roche Wines 2017 Arome.
Second Course: Aman Dosanj | The Paisley Notebook. Kelowna
Slow Fish. Wild Haida Gwaii Halibut, Pacific Roe, Braised Pearl Onion, Keralan Coconut and Tamarind Sauce paired with Tantalus Vineyards 2015 Old Vines Riesling.
Third Course: Erin Pickering | Nicole Gourmet, Calgary
Alberta Cold Pantry – Potatoes, Beets & Carrots. Smoked Agria Potato & Chive Gnocchi, Grizzly Aged Gouda, Charred Onion & Carrot Soubise paired with Moraine Winery 2016 Pinot Noir.
Forth Course: Jinhee Lee | Foreign Concept, Calgary
Okanagan Cherry Braised Alberta Veal Cheek, Sweet Potato, King Oyster Mushroom, Mandu paired with 2015 Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classique.
Fifth Course: Tina Tang | Predator Ridge, Vernon
Brown Butter Chiffon, Claremont Ranch Organics Poached Pear, Dulche de Leche, Sponge Toffee paired with Tantalus Vineyards 2013 Riesling Icewine.
One dinner – 5 female Chefs, 4 Winemakers, 44 guests, 1 silent auction and a whole lot of edible storytelling. On International Women’s Day, 2018, we celebrated the talent of the Okanagan Valley, Calgary and Edmonton, broke down stereotypes about mental health and changed some lives. Together we raised $10,774.30 for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Karis Support Society and Slow Food Canada. This dinner isn’t just a dinner, it’s built on kindness and it changes lives.
Thank you to everyone that helped me bring this little idea to life and everyone who attended for our second standing ovation in a row. And thank you to all of our volunteers, silent auction donations and Thuy Tran Photography for donating her service to capture the night.