A unique dinner prepared for some impoverished Edmontonians by some of the city’s top chefs provided some food for thought, in terms of the meaning of community in Alberta’s capital.
Feast with our Neighbours saw Gold Medal Plate-nominated (and some winners) chefs Lindsay Porter of London Local, Shane Chartrand of River Cree Resort and Casino’s SC Damn Good Food, and Nate Henry of Have Mercy combine forces with the Mustard Seed to cook a massive meal for dozens of people who normally wouldn’t get a chance to sample such cuisine.
“[It’s a] really cool event that’s being hosted by three chefs who are kind of coming together to serve community as well as to be in community with those that we serve every day here at the Mustard Seed,” said Dean Kurpjuweit, executive director of the Mustard Seed Edmonton.
View photos from Feast with our Neighbours in the gallery below:
Henry cooked Mexican food, Porter prepared British fare and Chartrand put together Indigenous dishes.
Jeffrey and Amy Nachtigall of Sugared and Spiced prepared dessert. The chefs also showed those who got to enjoy their dishes how they prepared them.
“Doing things for people is great [but] doing things with people is transformational,” Kurpjuweit said.
“Although doing things for people is really important… it’s also important to just be with people, to enter into community, to sit down and to have a meal and to understand that deep down, we’re all the same and we have shared experiences and we have shared needs.”
WATCH BELOW: (From December 2016) Connor McDavid was joined by teammates and administrative staff with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Friday night as it teamed up with Hope Mission, the local non-profit social care agency, to feed between 300 and 500 people dinner at the Lawton Junior High School gym in the central Edmonton neighbourhood of Beverly.
The event, which saw Gordon Food Services (GFS) donate the chefs’ ingredients, took place at the Mustard Seed Neighbour Centre in Strathcona. The fact that the event took place there and involved several chefs who work in the same community is no accident.
Kurpjuweit pointed out the idea for the dinner was in large part thanks to Michael Maxxis of Merchant Hospitality, which owns the popular eateries Have Mercy, El Cortez and Holy Roller.
“Working in restaurants, I realized that I take for granted how many incredible meals I’m fortunate to eat every week, and this event started from the idea of simply wanting to share that opportunity with our neighbours at the Mustard Seed,” Maxxis said in a news release. “The Mustard Seed is such a vital and progressive organization and it’s something we all want to support.
“Our goal is to make this a regular event that will help enhance the skills of community members who work in the Neighbour Centre kitchen and provide training for employment opportunities.”
The Mustard Seed is a Christian organization whose stated goal is to “eliminate homelessness and reduce poverty.”
WATCH BELOW: (From December 2018) The Mustard Seed is organizing its annual pop-up shop to ensure Edmontonians that are experiencing poverty can shop for Christmas gifts for the children in their lives. Margeaux Maron reports.