Tag Archives: fundraising

A Culinary Night of Celebration – Toronto’s Recipe For Change


A busy schedule and lots of travel put my writing on standby for a while but I had to make sure I got this tasty article up and readable to share!

Back on February 28th, Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Market looked like a stage set for a culinary celebration! The event – Toronto’s Annual Event – Recipe For Change

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I timed my arrival to the North Market Building for the 6pm door opening and before I could reach the inner sanctum of the market building, I experienced a taste-bud explosion by way of an amazing Smoked Duck Tostada by @FidelGastros – Matt Basile, star of “Rebel Without A Kitchen”.

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The evenings’ event was a market done in complete transformation! This building is generally left to those farmers and craftspeople selling their edible bounty to the public of fresh fruit, eggs, vegetables, cheeses and many other tasty little bits of flavour. That night the team at FoodShare designed a map through a garden of flavor overload put forth by those who rise to the top, sometimes are seldom seen by the general public, and have a deep love for their craft, for their annual Recipe for Change fundraising event.

Over the course of the next few hours, with fork, napkin and wineglass in pocket, the room filled to capacity with over 400 Toronto eager food fans supporting such a good cause and sampling  culinary delights from over 30 chefs and students, 8 wineries from Niagara and Prince Edward County, and a few breweries as well. I eagerly sipped, nibbled and photographed as many tasty tidbits as I could. This year’s FoodShare event was presented by GE Cafe Appliances and students from both the Bendale Business and Technical Institute and Eastdale Collegiate presented some tasty offerings that they cooked in their culinary programs that are in collaboration with FoodShare.

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Some of my most memorable bites were: Brisket Steamed Buns from Momofuku Toronto, Yakitori Bar/Seoul Food’s vegetarian Bibimbap, Torito Tapas & Monforte Dairy’s collab of Dates stuffed with Toscano Cheese, Orrechiette with White Pork Shoulder Ragu by Ascari Enoteca, Savoury Bread Puddings by the George Brown Chef School, and the Luscious Beet Root Chocolate Brownies from Pimenton.

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It was a joy to see that Toronto’s culinary community spotlights the collaborative efforts for such an amazingly good cause. It was fun night to be out and about as many enthusiastic chefs served their very best and  I had a chance to catch up with some of my favourite restauranteurs, chefs, bloggers and food writers. From the culinary schools to top chefs, breweries, wineries and to my love…the Detour Espresso Bar, Recipe for Change certainly gave those of us in attendance, an honest testimony to the talented and creative culinary industry in this city I now call home.

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Food Share empowers and enables Ontario children to identify what good food is, where it comes from, not only teaching them that healthy food also tastes great, but educating and helping them learn to choose it for themselves. The organization is leading the challenge to create a healthier future for our children by working with students from JK to Grade 12 ,parents and educators to ensure that good food education is an included part of the Ontario curriculum and make Food Literacy a requirement for graduation. Children across Ontario are being taught how to plant, tend, harvest, prep ,cook and compost – something I took for granted growing up when I was a child, having a family involved in food and backyard farming.

Foodshare Video

This year’s event also marked the launch of FoodShare’s first cookbook – “share:Delicious Dishes from Foodshare and Friends” which showcases affordable, healthy, and culturally-diverse cooking that is a joy for the palate and the eye.  Just $24.95 + HST at your favourite bookstore or available on www.foodshare.net


“A delight for the palate and for the eye, share showcases the joy of healthy, affordable culturally-diverse cooking and highlights the power of good food to bring people together. Celebrate home-cooked meals with Adrienne De Francesco and Marion Kane as they guide you through recipes that are thoughtfully selected, carefully tested and thoroughly delicious. Feast on contributions from FoodShare’s chefs, staff, volunteers and program participants, along with local celebrities who all share their favourite recipes in this beautiful full-colour cookbook.”

Take time to support the Foodshare community on any level ! I came with to Recipe for Change with an appetite on full tilt mody,  ready to be amazed and flavour – challenged by  the 30 chefs works in food and I left satiated with an even better appreciation of the chefs I know and new wonder from all the ones I met for the first time and what the Culinary Culture of Ontario truly has to offer. A delish food adventure  experience that I would highly recommend all of you look out for next year and make certain you have tickets as soon as you can.

Natural Riches and Wide Open Spaces – South African Thoughts and Memories Part 2


When traveling you often find many opportunities to donate to programs that are actually based for support in your destination. While I was in South Africa, I came across many of these opportunities to support various groups and charities and I wanted to highlight a few that are doing great things for the wildlife and the people of this amazing country.


93.4% of all of Africa’s RHINOS are in South Africa. RHINO FORCE in union with other committed corporations leads the fight against the plague of RHINO poaching. Profits from lovely beaded bracelets go to the Endangered Wildlife Trust and are used to fight Rhino poaching through projects solely focused on saving the RHINO population.

One War We Can’t Afford To Lose.

Beautiful Creatures Music Video

Kalahari Beads Project

Kalahari Spa has initiated the Kalahari Beads Project in conjunction with various Khoi San communities in the Kalahari Desert. These communities make delicate traditional Ostrich Egg Shell Beads and in turn they commission a good number of disadvantaged women to assemble these unique bracelets for them.

The proceeds from these bracelets goes towards supporting participating Khoi San families in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The Kalahari Bead Project helps to raise awareness and to bring a better understanding, appreciation and respect for the Khoi San – the real people whose language and traditions are being lost.

I purchased mine while visiting the amazing Cape Grace Hotel in Capetown and wish I could have brought home many more of this great fundraising and culture preserving initiative.

One of my favourites is Monkey Biz, as I had been made aware of them a few years ago at a travel trade event I had attended hosted by GoWay. The amazing wire bodies that were hand beaded to form not only animals but people where amazing and I promised myself that if I ever got to Capetown I would look them up and go into the shop. Currently we are having conversations to perhaps one day soon, incorporate some of their goods for purchase through my company AYA Life to help continue the support that this company does.



Monkeybiz South Africa, is a nonprofit income-generating bead project started in January 2000.

Through creating various sustainable employment, Monkeybiz focuses on women’s economic empowerment and health development in the most economically under-resourced areas of South Africa.

The project, which has established a vibrant community of more than 450 bead artists, many of whom are the sole moneymakers in their households, has transformed the large beaded arts market in South Africa. Departing from the culture of mass-production curio craft, each Monkeybiz artwork is unique,signed by the artist, ensuring that individual artists receive recognition for their work. They provide their artist’s community with beads and all of the material that is needed for the making of the bead art for free. The company also invests in skills development, entrepreneurship and self – employment with their artists.

All of the profits from the sales of the artworks are reinvested back into local community services, including but not limited to the weekly soup kitchens, restorative yoga, drama , and also a burial fund for the artists and their families.

A Brief History: Historically, bead work, in a South African context, has been the domain of women largely within the Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele and Sotho communities. The women are introduced to the craft directly through their mothers, grandmothers and other women in the community. Up until more recently, the oldest bead found in Africa was dated to roughly 10,000 BC. Excavated in the Kalahari Desert on the northern border of South Africa, it was chipped from the thick shell of an ostrich egg. Then, in 2004, the archaeologist Chris Henshilwood found marine shells and ostrich egg shells at Blombos Cave (Late Stone Age site on the south coast near Cape Town) that are at least 20,000 years old and had in all likelyhood been beads on a necklace.

Beads became integral to the Zulu society. In a non-literate culture, beading developed a whole language of symbolism to communicate messages of love, devotion and betrayal. The famous Zulu ‘love letters’ (which are tab pendants made by eligible young women and offered as coded tokens to the unmarried men) was one of the first pieces I ever owned to introduce me to the beading of the continent of Africa. It is one of many pieces I now own and have on display in my home – to be shared and seen not locked away – the work is so often beyond amazing!

Make sure you do some research and talk to the people if they have a storefront about how they source their goods and how they support their artists who create so many interesting items. But definitely take the moment and the minimal dollars to support the locals and as much or as little as you can do is always appreciate.

Giving back is a very wonderful thing and having great causes to support can lift your spirits and theirs like nobody’s business!

Upcoming Passion Trip…so excited!! Giving back and creating with the talented Dwayne Morgan


look for updates next week on this inspiring trip that Dwayne and I have put together to have a creative venture that gives back! This May, Dwayne and I will be taking a group of 20 individuals on an amazing journey of creativity, gratitude and give-back. Words & Wisdom will encourage travellers to experience writing, meditation, amazing excursions and an opportunity to give back to local volunteerism in Puerto Plata, DR and the opportunity to bring well needed good to the wonderful people of HAITI. Full details of this week long experience will come shortly but we wanted to let you know of this amazing opportunity to open the creative flow and experience a one of a kind journey on so many personal levels and the chance to flex your charitable skills. Guaranteed to be a trip to remember and goodwill to last a lifetime! Join us! Contact me if you would like more information or would like to be put on the email list for this amazing journey!