Vancouver food writer Cassandra Anderton is opening the home she shares with chef Michael Smith to virtual strangers Oct. 19 — for a cause.
Anderton and Smith have volunteered to cook dinner in their home for between four and six diners in support of an event that will see the $35 per person cost dedicated to the charity of their choice. Anderton and Smith have chosen as their charity the B.C. Hospitality Foundation, which supports workers in the industry coping with extraordinary costs arising from a serious health crisis not covered by a medical plan. There are 30 home cooks taking part across the city.
“We’re going to cook together, but Michael will do the pork,” said Anderton, creator of the Good Life Vancouver blog. “He’s an awesome cook.”
The event, dubbed Local Global, Vancouver — #dinnerpartyYVR, is a collaboration between Social Bites, the Charitable Impact (CHIMP) Foundation and HomeDine, a non-profit group that brings together hobby cooks with anyone looking for a homemade meal at a reasonable price. CHIMP is an online Canadian registered charity that helps individuals, groups and organizations manage charitable donations. At the end of each meal, participants will receive their $35 back in CHIMP dollars, which they can then donate online to one of the participating charities. Other hobby chefs also hosting dinner parties are donating their time, food and, in some cases wine, in support of the SPCA, Big Brothers and Sisters, St. James Music Academy, A Loving Spoonful and more.
The menu from each of the dinner parties, which will all eventually be listed on the Social Bites website, range from comfort food to gastronomic delights. Anderton’s and Smith’s dinner will offer some of the best local ingredients B.C. has to offer beginning with smoked salmon and chevre quenelles atop endive, followed by roasted butternut squash soup and finally sous vide pork loin with root vegetable hash.
“We devised a menu with a fall harvest theme,” said Anderton. “And we’re pairing each course with B.C. wines from Peacock and Martin. We’re hoping that will encourage people to donate even more than the $35.”
Social Bites founder Annika Reinhardt said besides Anderton, other popular bloggers taking part in #dinnerpartyYVR include Marc Smith (30 Day Adventures) and Mijune Pak (Follow Me Foodie).
Reinhardt came up with the idea for Social Bites from time spent in Germany where a growing culinary phenomenon saw foodies mingling with like-minded strangers as a way to meet new people. New to Vancouver, Reinhardt started organizing small progressive dinner parties at two homes in specific Vancouver neighbourhoods with a competition element.
“There’s no competition taking place in this event, but some of those competition winners are hosting dinners,” said Reinhardt. “But the word has spread and most of those are sold out.”
Reinhardt said #dinnerpartyYVR is by far the largest culinary project she’s organized to date. At the end of each of the 30 dinners, all participants will converge on Hawkers Market on East Cordova Street where they’ll sample unique desserts from nine artisan vendors, dance to a DJ and can purchase drinks from the bar.
“We expecting more than 200 people so it should be really amazing,” said Reinhardt. “And the fact we’ll be helping all of those charities makes it even better.”
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