Heart's Bounty Re-visited
As everyone that took part in Heart's Bounty can attest, this June 2 nd , 2002 fundraiser in benefit of COSTI's Art Therapy for Refugee Children program was everything that one could possibly ask for and more. It was an event unlike any other.
Not your typical fundraising dinner, Heart's Bounty was the brainchild of world-renowned chef Michael Stadtlander.
"When we first met with Michael and Nobuyo to discuss the idea of a fundraiser for COSTI's Art Therapy Program, we knew it was going to be something memorable. We just never imagined how truly special it would become", says Mario J. Calla, COSTI's Executive Director. "It really took on a life all of its own - especially with Michael at the helm."
Calling upon his colleagues to help him design a ten-course menu to remember, Michael soon enlisted the skills and talents of some of Ontario's top chefs: Claudio Aprile, Senses; Herbert Barnsteiner, Corner House; Paul Boehmer, The Prince of Wales Hotel; Keith Frogget, Scaramouche; John Higgins, George Brown School of Cooking; Jamie Kennedy, JK at the ROM; Susur Lee, Susur; Bryan Steele, The Old Prune and the Stratford Chef's School; and Masayuki Tamaru, Crush.
The roster was a veritable who's who of culinary wizards, and one that didn't fail to amaze and satisfy the taste buds of the more than 200 guests that gathered in the meadow of Michael's Eigensinn Farm.
A true al fresco experience, guests marveled at the artistry of the chefs and sampled the vintages of some of Ontario's top wineries, all while seated at hand-made tables located underneath an artistic creation in its own right - a construction made specifically for this event, fashioned out of bark-stripped and hand-wittled poles, recycled chicken wire, and straw. It can only be described as theatre in the rough .
Each course was announced in dramatic fashion, with the chef's assistants slowly walking a menu card around the various tables. Following the course, the chef and his assistants would translate their feelings about the event onto a series of white flags that were then mounted on hand-carved flag-poles, and sold at a live auction held at the end of the day.
The live auction gave guests the opportunity to bid on some incredible items: original artwork, rare wine, gift certificates for dinner at top restaurants, and the most sought after item of the day, a private dinner for six prepared by Michael himself.
To maintain the excitement of the event, guests were also treated, between courses, to the musical and vocal talents of a number of wonderful musicians, including two Juno Award-winning artists, Jane Bunnett and Liberty Silver.
Heart's Bounty proved to be one of COSTI's most successful fundraising events to-date. Combined with the money raised during the live auction, the event generated more than $55,000, ensuring, in the process, that the Art Therapy Program would once again be able to make a difference in the lives of refugee children that have been witness to the horrors of war. The money raised will allow COSTI to offer the program on a part-time basis for next two years, helping hundreds of refugee children overcome their barriers and adjust to their new lives in Canada.
This event, however, could not have been the success that it was without the efforts of a number of very generous individuals. In all, over 70 volunteers gave of their time, skills, and commitment. From the volunteers involved in preparing the site, to the University of Guelph's Hospitality and Tourism students that attended to the guests, and, most of all, to the chefs themselves, many of whom came to Canada as immigrants, and who saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community - this event could not have happened without them.
Heart's Bounty - an affair to remember.
Thanks to all of out ticket buyers, donors, and volunteers for making Heart's Bounty an incredibly successful event.