Dinner inspired by a show
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 | 07:57 AM ET
by Jessica Wong, CBCNews.ca
I’m a homebody and don’t usually venture out on what I still think of as “school nights.” But when I do, it’s usually a mad dash from the office to find some decent grub before heading to a ballet or opera performance (I figure they balance out with my love for trashy magazines and American Gladiators).
Squeezing in a nice dinner before a show, however, can sometimes be problematic. Time is always an issue — I like to have at least 90 minutes to enjoy dinner, even if it’s a cheap and cheerful meal.
It’s an issue that Toronto-based promoter and event-planner Kate Daniels also considered, especially as the city’s second annual Luminato arts and cultural festival approached. For 10 days in early June, Luminato spreads a vast canopy of music, dance, theatre, poetry and storytelling across several downtown ‘hoods.
With so many great chefs cooking in the same areas as many of the festival’s high-profile performances, Daniels sensed a way to incorporate food into the mix.
“Chefs are artists,” she said. “Why not take some of the best culinary artists of the city and … match them up with Luminato?”
She and her team (along with restaurateur Michael Rubino) were delighted to discover that many of the city’s prominent chefs were eager to join participate, including Claudio Aprile, David Lee and Guy Rubino.
The challenge presented to each chef was to create a prix-fixe menu inspired by a specific nearby performance.
So, for instance, someone might opt for a three-course meal featuring ingredients like cumin, mango and banana-lime curry at Mark McEwan’s newest restaurant, One, before heading down to take in a South-Asian production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
While the chefs were largely granted free reign menu-wise, the only caveat was to ensure that diners could enjoy a lovely meal and get to their seats in time. This lets Luminato patrons start their evening of culture with dinner and not afterwards, Daniels said.
Restaurants offering pre-show meals inspired by local arts performances: it’s not a radical new idea, but it’s something that is welcome, especially as the busy summer festival season gets underway.
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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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