5th annual Food for Thought at high school in Barrhaven

5th annual Food for Thought at high school in Barrhaven

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More than 100 guests Wednesday for the fifth annual Food for Thought charity fundraiser where 50 Grade 10 and 11 students at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School in Barrhaven prepared and served a six-course dinner under the mentorship of volunteer visiting professional chefs. A superlative evening and very good value at $55 a pop.

More than 100 guests Wednesday at the fifth annual Food for Thought charity fundraiser where 50 Grade 10 and 11 students at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School in Barrhaven prepared and served a six-course dinner under the mentorship of volunteer visiting professional chefs. A superlative evening and very good value at $55 a pop.

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FEB 01 15 – 10 AM — At the ripe age of just-turned 61 (after professionally reporting the food scene 15+ years) I find myself less interested these days in the daily ruminations of people fretting whether it’s best to offer tasting menus or tapas or small plates — who really cares? — and more on evolving tastes with interesting twists and, of course, up-and-comers who haven’t yet been spoiled by 15 minutes of fame.

(Let me share this footnote with restaurateurs who wonder how to survive in a hostile economy beset by high taxation, highest electric bills ever, and consumers who would rather shuffle in Jimmy Choo shoes than feast on fancy food cooked by a celebrity. It is simply this: These days you will find it exceedingly tough to sustain a business on meal tickets that average $100 or more per person. Yes, you may rearrange your deck chairs menu and relabel the offerings all you like — but unless you have truly unique food in a unique atmosphere that delivers wow! factor every single night with every single bite, then you are screwed.

(The fact is the $100+ restaurant tab has by and large sailed. Bon voyage. I can think of only a very small handful of exceptions in Ottawa that command that kind of coin and successfully pull it off. The rest had better figure out how to deliver mains for under $20 a pop, or they will die not trying.)

Top, the faces of inspiring youth. Bottom, volunteer professional chefs L-R Marysol Foucault, Jonathan Korecki, Marc Doiron, Stev George.

Top, the faces of inspiring youth. Bottom, volunteer professional chefs L-R Marysol Foucault, Jonathan Korecki, Marc Doiron, Stev George.

And so I was heartened just last Wednesday to drop by one of my inspiring haunts where 50 or so Grade 10 and 11 students at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School in Barrhaven annually prepare and serve a charity Food For Thought fundraising dinner under the mentorship of two very talented faculty chefs, Kent Van Dyk and, a more recent addition in Tony Christoforantos, plus a handful of professionals from restaurants in the community. Theme for the fifth year meal serving 100 or so guests at $55 each — now, that’s incredible value — was Your Favourite Movie.

Each visiting volunteer chef devised one of six courses on a movie night theme that added as much whimsy as taste to the final spectacular presentations. And I do mean, spectacular.

Top L-R, Longfields-Davidson Heights school chefs/instructors Tony Christoforantos with culinary program creator Kent Van Dyk. Bottom, volunteer pastry chef Marc Doiron of Town restaurant.

Top L-R, Longfields-Davidson Heights school chefs/instructors Tony Christoforantos with culinary program creator Kent Van Dyk. Bottom, volunteer pastry chef Marc Doiron of Town restaurant.

What follows here is by and large a photo essay of the memorable evening.

Appetizer trio by school chefs/instructors Tony Christoforantos and Kent Van Dyk: Barbecue pulled pork with queso fresco, chili roasted sweet potato and black bean, striped bass ceviche with mango salsa. Movie theme "Chef."

Appetizer trio by school chefs/instructors Tony Christoforantos and Kent Van Dyk: Barbecue pulled pork with queso fresco, chili roasted sweet potato and black bean, striped bass ceviche with mango salsa. Movie theme “Chef.”

Movie theme "The Trip to Italy" by chef/owner Stev George or Olivea Restaurant, Kingston (who, by the way, has attend all, five Food for Thought events): Insalata di Mare featuring chilled marinated shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, calamari, limonata di sorrento.

Movie theme “The Trip to Italy” by chef/owner Stev George of Olivea Restaurant, Kingston (who, by the way, has attend all five Food for Thought events): Insalata di Mare featuring chilled marinated shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, calamari, limonata di sorrento.

Movie theme "Tampopo" by chef Jonathan Korecki (Sidedoor/Restaurant E18hteen): Duck ramen smoked breast, confit leg, pickled carrot, ginger and hand-rolled noodles.

Movie theme “Tampopo” by chef Jonathan Korecki (Sidedoor/Restaurant E18hteen): Duck ramen smoked breast, confit leg, pickled carrot, ginger and hand-rolled noodles.

Movie theme "Fried Green Tomatoes" by chef/owner Marysol Foucault of Chez Edgar, Gatineau: Chipotle pulled chicken, cheddar/honey/jalapeno corn bread, chowder cream, fried green tomato, avocado/cumin creme fraiche, charred green onion, corn/tomato/lime/cilantro relish.

Movie theme “Fried Green Tomatoes” by chef/owner Marysol Foucault of Chez Edgar, Gatineau: Chipotle pulled chicken, cheddar/honey/jalapeno corn bread, chowder cream, fried green tomato, avocado/cumin creme fraiche, charred green onion, corn/tomato/lime/cilantro relish.

Movie "Land of the Lost" plate by chef/owner Rob Bragagnolo of Marben Restaurant, Toronto: Confit beef rib, saffron polenta, beet, infused foam, porcini-rosemary sauce.

Movie “Land of the Lost” plate by chef/owner Rob Bragagnolo of Marben Restaurant, Toronto: Confit beef rib, saffron polenta, beet, infused foam, porcini-rosemary sauce.

 

By chef/owner Marc Doiron of Town Restaurant on the movie theme "The Meaning of Life:" Finally Monsieur, a wafer-thin mint! Chocolate brownie with milk chocolate pave cream, smoked and salted cocoa meringue crisp wafer, apricot and organge puree, blood orange.

By chef/owner Marc Doiron of Town Restaurant on the Monte Python movie theme “The Meaning of Life:” Finally Monsieur, a wafer-thin mint! Chocolate brownie with milk chocolate pave cream, smoked and salted cocoa meringue crisp wafer, apricot and orange puree, blood orange.

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Left, Joshua Bishop, owner The Whalesbone Oyster House and sister companies, shucks fresh oysters for arriving guests. Right, chef/owner Rob Bragagnolo of Marben Restaurant in Toronto.

Left, Joshua Bishop, owner The Whalesbone Oyster House and sister companies, shucks fresh oysters for arriving guests. Right, chef/owner Rob Bragagnolo of Marben Restaurant in Toronto.

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