Part cocktail party, part dinner party and part culinary adventure — that’s Passions, the annual fundraiser for the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. The concept of the event is simple: bring two dozen of the city’s top chefs and restaurants to the Dr. Peter Centre’s state-of-the-art facility, with each one presenting a single, signature dish. Guests graze from one station to the next, stopping only to refill their glasses with a selection wines donated by the New Zealand Winegrowers. Then, everyone meets up in the courtyard for a live auction hosted by Global TV anchors Chris Gailus and Sophie Lui.
And while the concept itself is simple, the execution is anything but. Organizer Nathan Fong begins planning for the next year’s event before the dishes from the current one have been cleared — securing sponsors, chefs and auction items while working the crowd of socialites, provincial and federal politicos and, of course, regular folks who want to hit 24 high-end eateries in just under three hours.
The first Passions in 2003 featured nine chefs, 100 guests and raised $7,000. Last year, 24 chefs and 300 guests filled every corner of the Dr. Peter Centre, raising a jaw-dropping $100,000 for the centre’s HIV/AIDS day health program and palliative care unit.
And this year is on track to do the same with an all-star lineup of first-timers and returning champs such as West Vancouver’s Fraîche; blonde bartending bombshell Lauren Mote of Kale & Nori; the little spot that launched Vancouver’s izakaya craze, Hapa Izakaya; Ned Bell of Yew at the Four Seasons; and master sushi chef and inventor of the California Roll — no, seriously, he totally invented it — Tojo. Even the city’s new love of food carts is represented by the Roaming Dragon truck parked out front and treating guests to pan-Asian food bites as they arrive. It will also be the public’s first chance to sample wares from chef Chris Whittaker’s highly anticipated farm-to-table and nose-to-tail eatery, Forage.
Passions promises a night of good food for an even better cause.
Passions – A Benefit for the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation
Sunday, September 9 at the Dr. Peter Centre, 1110 Comox Street, 5 p.m. (champagne reception) or 6 p.m. (general admission) to 9 p.m.
Tickets are $225 general admission and $300 with champagne reception. Available here or by calling 604-331-5086