Sometime in mid-May I received an email inviting me to a very interesting event going on in Vancouver called Cooking Up Justice – An evening with celebrity chef and recording artist Roger Mooking. Instead of trying to paraphrase what the email said ever so eloquently, I shall just quote it here:
On May 16, Canadian celebrity chef and recording artist, Roger Mooking, will take a stand against child malnutrition and food security by participating in World Vision’s Cooking Up Justice event. Mooking, who recently travelled with World Vision to Cambodia, is bringing his stories and experiences to Vancouver for this highly visual and interactive event.
While in Cambodia, Mooking traded in his chef toque to be the student, learning from local families how to prepare nutritious, authentic Cambodian dishes. Joined by a packed house of local supporters, Mooking will host an interactive evening to discuss the importance of nutrition for children living in Canada and overseas. He will give a highly-engaging cooking demonstration preparing an original recipe inspired by the rich culture and cuisine of Cambodia.
An event that combines a cooking demo with a celebrity chef, and discussions on food security and nutrition? Was this event made for me? I knew I had to go.
The event was hosted at the Museum of Vancouver, which I had actually never heard of (!) before. Turns out it’s located at the HR MacMillan Space Centre – a place I am actually quite familiar with, due to many a school field trip to the planetarium there.
Love the metal crab sculpture out front.
Can you see the duckling swimming below? There were 6 or 7 of them and their momma out that night. Sadly I didn’t have my other lens for my camera, so I was unable to get any decent photos.
I made my way into the event, which was held in a lovely room with great views out over English Bay. Too bad it was raining – would have had a gorgeous view of the sunset over the water.
As with any good food related event, there was a delicious spread of cheeses, crackers, flatbreads, fruit, and vegetables. Which was perfect, because I hadn’t time for dinner before heading out.
The evening started with Roger doing his cooking demonstration – a Cambodian Tilapia Ceviche (you can get there recipe here). He was very entertaining as he cooked and spoke about his time spent in Cambodia with World Vision.
At one point – as he was chopping up cilantro – he asked the audience if anyone out there tastes soap when they eat cilantro. Being the cilantro hater that I am, I raised my hand. Turns out I was the only one. So of course I was singled out a little bit, but it’s all good. He was aware that some people have a genetic basis for not liking cilantro, such as myself. He likened it to the whole asparagus pee thing (also genetic in nature).
There was the opportunity to taste the ceviche at the end of the demonstration, but I passed – due to all that cilantro 😉
Everyone who did try it gave it rave reviews, so perhaps I will have to try out the recipe, just with a few herb modifications.
After the cooking was done, we got to watch a short video on Roger’s trip to Cambodia, and then heard from a guest speaker from Vancouver’s CityReach Care Society – a local non-profit organization dealing with some of the food security issues facing families in Vancouver. Always great to tie in local issues with global problems.
To finish, we were treated to a short presentation from the honourable Hedy Fry – a long-standing local Member of Parliament – who spoke on women’s and children’s health issues in Africa. A very impassioned speech to say the least.
The event ended with a short question and answer period with the speakers, followed by the opportunity to meet with Roger. I took the chance to chat with him briefly, although totally forgot to get a picture. Doh! Ah well.
Not only did we get to take home a little care package – a decorative oven mitt made as part of a program in Phnom Penh aimed at getting children off the streets, as well as the recipes from the evening, and information on the various programs…
…but I was one of 3 lucky people to win a copy of Roger’s latest CD – Soul Food.
I was so glad to be invited to the event. It was perfect timing too – it brought together a variety of topics I have been covering in my classes over the past year, such as food security, childhood nutrition, traditional cultural foods, and more. It was really interesting to see how all of these things that we sometimes see and study as separate entities actually interact and happen together in the real world, and how people are working in various projects to try and find solutions to these problems. Couple that with a cooking demo with a Food Network Canada chef…well, that’s just icing on the cake. I definitely feel like ceviche is no longer scary prospect – perhaps we’ll see some on the blog soon?
Thanks to Heidi Sinclair from World Vision for the invite, and to all who presented.