Although being married to one of Canada’s best chefs delivers perks on a daily basis (for instance I often get pretty tasty samples of his new recipes!), every once in a while, I get a big pay off. Such was the case on Friday night when I got a last minute call to join Martin at one of the parties that was part of the fourth annual Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival that’s held to raise money for the Toronto General and Western hospital. He and Daniel Boulud had cooked at the $12,500 a plate Chateau Le Pin luncheon earlier that day (that’s one of the courses in the picture above) and Martin called to see if Oliver and I would like to meet him at Todd and Ellen Halpern’s Grand Cru team thank you party.
The party, held at the Halpern’s gorgeous house in Forest Hill, was easily one of the most elaborate house parties I’ve ever attended. It literally humbled my status as a Perfectionista.
When we arrived there was an Asian elephant in the driveway to greet us (turns out I’m allergic to elephant spit; after feeding her, my hand broke out in a itchy rash – good thing I’m too old to run away and join the circus). The backyard was swathed in black canvas and red carpet and, to make room for all the guests to dance to the tunes being played by the four piece band, the underlit pool was covered in plexiglass. To say no detail was spared would be an understatement.
Besides getting to hob-nob with philantropists and celebrity chefs, the party was also a great experience since it reminded me that even when you hear doom and gloom economic news all day long that you can’t place your own acts of charity on the back burner. In fact, many Canadian food banks report lacklustre donations during their Thanksgiving food drives and other charities are concerned about the impact the current economic changes will cause as well.
While I certainly can’t host a lavish event where roses pave the guest tables and glasses are filled with first growth burgundies, I can still volunteer some of my spare time and remember the same charities I’ve supported in other years with a donation of some kind. After all, when times are tough our donations and support are more necessary than ever.
Will you be changing your charitable habits due to changes in the economy?