Hanging out with the Grand Crew at Grand Cru

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?

9 Responses to Hanging out with the Grand Crew at Grand Cru

  1. Ahh lucky you.

    And my charitable habits? I don’t give…I don’t have anything to give. I need to be in the line to receive.

  2. You went to a party and were greeted by an elephant?! Sure, Dana. Was it a blue elephant?

    Gotta say, that bit reminded me of the scene in the Peter Seller’s movie called The Party. I believe they end up washing a painted elephant in the swimming pool. I’m sure the soiree you attended into dissolve into a mad cap adventure, but an elephant?! Really? Are you sure it wasn’t the first growth burgundy talking?

    But you asked a serious question about charitable donations. For now, we’ll continue as we do. If the cash flow gets tight, we’ll probably increase the amount of time we donate, which can be just as important.

  3. Rosa says:

    Wow, you are a lucky woman ;-P!

    Unfortunately, I can’t afford to give anything much and the state of the economy changes nothing to that situation…



  4. Beth says:

    I’ll give my to my regular charities this year since it’s in the budget but next year I may have to volunteer my time more often so that I can help out in other ways. If the markets don’t bounce back I may be limited in what I can do financially.

    And, I wonder if next year that party will be as lavish – cutting back on an elephant could certainly save a lot of expense!

  5. danamccauley says:

    Beth and Charmian, I love that you are going to give your time when money is less easy to part with.

    There’s always an extra hour or so a week to volunteer.

  6. Cheryl says:

    What a fun, special evening. Except for the elephant spit part.

    We’ll give as always for the time being, though that presumes that our job situations remain stable. Charitable giving is one of those places where I’m less inclined to cut back. That said, we won’t be adding any new organizations/causes to our roster this year.

  7. Usually I don’t get elephants in my parties!
    I would love to help and give to charity, as for now I can only aford to give my most pecious gift: my time.

  8. That party brings “My Man Godfrey” to mind. I guess I have to watch it again next week.

  9. danamccauley says:

    I’ve never seen “My Man Godfrey”, is it good?

    Cookie, good for you. I find volunteering very satisfying and a great way to meet other people in my community.

    Cheryl, it was a fun night and almost more so since I went spur of the moment and didn’t think about what to wear or any of that kind of thing.

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