INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY DINNER RAISED MUCH NEEDED MENTAL HEALTH FUNDS
As popular as the Energizer Bunny, Aman Dosanj of The Paisley Notebook buzzed about Liquidity Bistro, March 8, as her fourth installment of the International Women’s Day Dinner raised $13,192.77 to be allocated between charities.
Recipients for the 2020 dinner, held in the South Okanagan for the first time, were Foundry Penticton and Kelowna, South Okanagan Women in Need Society and Slow Food Canada. Launched in 2017 with Quails’ Gate Winery as host $7,709.82 was raised with just 37 guests., In 2018, Tantalus Vineyards hosted it and $10,774.30 was raised, then in 2019 it was held at the CMHA Kelowna’s ‘Wellness Centre’ where $10,953.89 was raised. With the event’s growth each year since 2017, The Paisley Notebook has raised over $60,000 for local charities, including CMHA/Foundry Kelowna, Karis Support Society and South Okanagan Women In Need Society.
While Dosanj says this was the last International Women’s Day Dinner to be hosted by The Paisley Notebook, the community building will continue with smaller gestures of kindness.
“This dinner has never been simply a dinner; it’s driven by community and kindness and that feeds into everything we do. And yes, the line-up is all-female and also celebrates International Women’s Day, but it’s not a ‘look at us, we’re female and we’re cooking’ type thing, it’s ‘this is what we do, this is how we do it, and we’re going to do a lot of good in our local community.’
She points out, “This one event has lots of moving parts and takes me about five months to organize. Among other logistical things, ticket sales are always a challenge which is frustrating when you know how magical and different this dinner is. In the struggle with ticket sales, the many connections I have made through this International Women’s Day dinner have been asked for help and they showed up.”
At Liquidity Bistro, as Dosanj orchestrated the feast, ensuring all her collaborating chefs had what was needed to present their courses, her philosophy was evident. “The magic of food is something I always talk about and it really does make things better.”
The elegance of the event was enriched by the artistically stunning grounds and setting of Liquidity Winery in Okanagan Falls. Upon arrival, guests were provided a glass of sparkling wine which they could savour as they perused the silent auction items thoughtfully procured and beautifully set up against a backdrop of art installations.
Once called to the tables for the five-course dinner, guests were regaled with the stories behind the dishes and the wines as Dosanj introduced her collaborators. The voices of the charities were also shared and we learned more about the importance of mental health, equality, personal safety, and the power of feeding people beyond addressing hunger.
Up to the plate first was event organizer Dosanj, The Paisley Notebook (Kelowna). She presented ‘Ceiling’ Codfather’s Seafood Market Nova Scotian Digby Scallops, Roasted Malabar Spices, Rice Crackers as Severine Pinte (Osoyoos) shared 2018 LaStella Moscato D’Osoyoos.
Second course featured Dana Ewart (Penticton) and Terri’s Hand Folded Dumplings, Wild Foraged Nettles, Whipped Ricotta & Brown Butter, Unearthed Farm Preserved Petals. Leslie D’Andrea (Okanagan Falls) spoke to the pairing of 2016 Noble Ridge Reserve Chardonnay.
Next, Andrea Callan, Red Fox Club at Indigenous World Winery (West Kelowna) presented Two Rivers Meats Duck Hand Pie, Rosehip Tea Brined Fraser Valley Duck, Roasted Shallot, Celeriac Aligot and noted the sauce ‘handprint’ on the plate was inspired by Shane Chartrand of tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine cookbook with Jennifer Cockrall-King. Winemaker Alison Moyes introduced the 2017 Liquidity Wines Pinot Noir Estate.
Fourth course was Broek Acres Berkshire Pork, Preserved Apricot, Kumquat & Marigold by Christine Sandford of Biera (Edmonton). The 2016 Nighthawk Vineyards Cabernet Franc was presented by Christy Bibby (Okanagan Falls).
Dessert by Kelsey Johnson, Café Linnea (Edmonton) was a unique cheese plate presentation of House-made Stracciatella with Honey & Wildflowers. Winemaker Keira LeFranc (Okanagan Falls) provided background on the pairing of 2013 Stag’s Hollow Winery Hart.
Dosanj gave a heartfelt speech of thanks to all the collaborators and her many volunteers whom I have not listed here. The cast came out for a bow and received a resounding standing ovation.
The power of the evening plays poetically in my mind as the impact of #stayathome and #flattenthecurve for the COVID-19 pandemic has set such moments on pause.
Since then Dosanj passed her citizenship test becoming a dual citizen (Canada/United Kingdom) and vows to continue with her edible storytelling in some iterations – perhaps her pop-up dinners across the Okanagan when we reach the flipside of this virus.
In the meantime, check out paisleynotebook.com periodically as she is working on the website/blog with new recipes that “focus on cheap, wholesome, delicious AF, pantry-focused eats to see you through.”