Winnipeg Harvest Souper Lunch

Today was the 5th annual Winnipeg Harvest Empty Bowls Souper Lunch. In many ways such anniversaries are hard events to mark. They remind us of the fact that there is still an awful lot of hunger in our city. We still have along way to go to get to the point where our city no longer needs a food bank. Yet, as this event reaches its fifth anniversary, its growth reminds us that there are more and more people in Winnipeg who are committed to trying to end hunger.Winnipeg Harvest Souper Lunch SignWhile Winnipeg Harvest does employ paid staff, the heart and soul of the operation is the many people who volunteer countless hours to helping provide everyone with enough food to eat. This year the Souper Lunch featured place mats that paid tribute to the memory of Kevin Walters who spearheaded the beginnings of the Empty Bowls Super Lunch.

Winnipeg Harvest Souper Lunch place mats.The Empty Bowls Souper Lunch is held at the MTS Centre. The soups for the Winnipeg Harvest fundraiser were prepared by the staff at Centerplate, the MTS Centre’s in house restaurant. At the Souper lunch you get to help a great cause. You also get a real great lunch. Continue reading

Tasting Molecular Gastronomy

Earlier today I posted on a #canolaconnect event that I attended last Thursday. Along with the lectures I mentioned there was tasting afterwards. I originally was going to include all of that in the one post, but as the first post was getting longish, I decided to write a separate post for the tasting portion.

The tasting portion of the evening was the work of the culinary arts students from Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre. The students at the event on Thursday were training under the supervision of Chef Jeremy Bender, a member of the 2012 Culinary Olympic Team.

The program as outlined on the LRATC site, offers students with an interest in the culinary arts, the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in several areas of commercial food service. Along with this, the program has a link with Red River College that offers graduates the possibility of advanced placement within the Red River Culinary Arts program, along with level one apprenticeship status as a cook.

Molecular gastronomy, (and it’s offshoots) is an approach to cooking that uses various scientific approaches and equipment. This is not part of the course at LRATC. Yet, Chef Bender’s own training has featured a lot of time spent working with these techniques. It was quite clear that Bender’s affection for and experience in this area inspired the students. They clearly poured a lot of effort and creativity into coming up with and preparing the dishes.

Tasting Time:

There were four tasting stations set up along the hallway of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Neutraceuticals building, where the event was being held. At one end there was a fish station, and a pork station. At the other end a vegetable station, and a dessert statiion. In between there was a wine bar to allow for an enjoyable beverage to pair with the food.

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Science on Your Plate

Last Thursday I attended an event sponsored by the Manitoba Canola Growers, Entitled “Does Science Belong on My Plate?” The evening featured presentations from Dr. Nancy Ames, a research scientist from Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada, and Dr. Kevin Folta from the Horticulural Sciences Department at the University of Florida.

While two hours of lectures may not be everyone’s idea of a good evening, it did include tasting. First there was a cookie during the lecture and then after the lecture we got to sample a variety of science inspired dishes created by the students of the Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre under the direction of Chef Jeremy Bender.

Given the nature of the evening, the title of “Does Science Belong on My Plate?” was more of a rhetorical question. Dr. Ames presentation, which led off the evening, too us through processing and all the way it benefits foods, and the consumer. Along the way, she gave us visual demonstrations of what gluten is as well as demonstrations of soluble and non-soluble fibre. In the picture of the two fibres below, you can see that the soluble fibre is closer to a gel, while the non-soluble fibre is held in solution.

Science of Soluble and Non-Soluble Fibre

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the one on the left is pretty much a gel.

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Wasabi on Broadway

About two and half weeks ago there was a post in the Manitoba Food Bloggers Group on Facebook asking if anyone was interested in a blogger/dinner event with Wasabi restaurants. I put my name down and last night found myself at the Wasabi location on Broadway.

Like all of these events, the best part of last night is the people you get to dine with. There were several new people, such as Katie, Nisha (who organized the event, thanks), Cody(I think, he was at the opposite end of the table from me), and Robin. It was a chance to renew an occasional acquaintance with Ian McCausland, one of Winnipeg’s best photographers. Then there was Shel, Natalie, and Rebecca. I seem to run into these three at most food events, and their presence guarantees a fun, laughter-filled meal.

Our table at Wasabi Broadway

Our table before anyone had arrived.

 Wasabi Evening:

When you walk in the door of Wasabi, you immediately find yourself by the a little counter with several seats. Behind this counter you will find the chefs preparing the food. If you choose you can order at the counter and watch as your food is being prepared. There was no one seated there when I walked in. The chefs were at work but  took the time to greet me and to call someone to take care of me. Continue reading

Food for the Journey

Food for the Journey: Nutrition on a Budget is a six week nutrition program currently being offered through the parish of St. Stephen and St. Bede. St. Stephen and St. Bede is an Anglican-Lutheran parish in St. James that has been working together long before any of the official links between Anglicans and Lutherans were in place.

The priest there is Reverend Murray Still. Murray and I served together as honourary assistants at Holy Trinity several years ago. I’m always interested in what is happening in Murray’s life as a priest, so when he posted Food for the Journey as a Facebook event, I decided I’d check it out.

Portion Distortion Food for the Journey

Apparently the portions aren’t the only things distorted. The top left shows what we typically eat. The center left, what a portion should be.

The program is being taught by Dominique Chell, a third year nutrition student at the University of Manitoba. I arrived early for the event and had a few minutes to talk with her. The first thing that I discovered is Ms. Chell is a lifelong member of the parish. As we talked a little bit more and I asked here how this related to studies, she told me that while it was a chance to put into practice what she was learning, Food for the Journey wasn’t part of any class assignment, but a chance for her to share her passion for nutrition with her parish family.

In addition to creating this program, Ms. Chell also volunteers with Healthy Start for Mom and Me. This program operates out of Knox United downtown and has several locations in Winnipeg’s core area. Plus, she also volunteers doing clinical work at Deer Lodge hospital.. Continue reading

Saint Mark’s Fall Supper

Late last month I wrote a post listing as many fall suppers in Winnipeg as I could find. Among them are two for parishes I’m connected with. The first of these was last Saturday at the parish of Saint Mark’s. Saint Mark’s is located on St. Mark’s place, just off of St.Mary’s Road south of where St. Anne’s splits off. I’ve been working there for what is approaching three years now.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the parish. The celebration for Saint Mark’s anniversary took place earlier this year including a dinner at the Norwood Hotel.That was an enjoyable dinner, but there’s something about a dinner prepared by the members of the parish that makes it all a little bit tastier.

Saint Mark Hall

The chairs were empty here, but they were all taken by the time the dinner began.

In addition to this being a Fall Dinner, Saint Mark’s adds an auction to go along with the meal. As you can see in the pictures below there was a variety of items that were up for bids. Continue reading