The SuperChefs Cookery at the Zajac Ranch a Big Hit!

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Date Posted: July 30, 2009

On Sunday July 26-29th, twenty children from the Britannia Community Centre area of Vancouver were invited to partake in the inaugural SuperChefs Cookery at Zajac Ranch. For many of these kids, it was their only opportunity to go away for the summer. The children, aged 9-12 years old, had cooking instruction from our Chefs from the Advisory Board, Carol Murphy Clyne (Culinary Institute of America ) and her husband Vin, and Jean Luc Barone ( GM, Westin Bayshore Hotel and Resorts) and his colleague and celebrated Chef Vanessa Mendoza.

The kids were kept active by our Headmaster Stephan Grasmuck and his wife Judy and their team of counsellors, (Day Scott, Emma Germain, Nicki Evans, Tessa Fraser, Justin Bhuttar, Alexandra Barone, Lauren Chang, Ryan Chang and Austin Chang. Supervisors (Derek Soong) and youth sports leaders that included Circus West’s Jay Nunns, Youth in Fitness’ Todd Kozinka, The Inflatable Theatre Company’s Fred Garbo. When they weren’t cooking at the Stake Out or kitchen, the children were catching footballs from the BC Lions football launcher, playing various team sports, kayaking, partaking in the low ropes and archery programs or putting on skits and circus shows. They had an absolutely wonderful time, as one of the children exclaimed as he was late arriving for one of the scheduled activites, “sorry I’m late-I got caught up in the magic!”.

The Cookery was also an opportunity to unveil the SuperChefs Live Cirque Show, a co-production with Circus West. The show starred some of Circus West’s top young Circus performers in disciplines including trapeze, lira, tissu, acrobatics and juggling. The performers included Quinn Spicker (Potpan), Quinn Beasley (Wrapper), Alicia French (Tough Cookie), Lauren Joe (Spicer), Dominique LeBlanc (Mirapoix), Rosalie LeBlanc (Coco), Ben Courtenay (Mixer) and Michaela Albert (Tissu Artist). The show was comical, highly energized and very entertaining with high production values and a fitting message about the power of good food at the finale. The costumes were well orchestrated by Nicole Chang, and very colourful and dynamic with many interesting props.

We were also treated to the talents of Fred Garbo and his Alien Inflatable number, that was unique and over the top funny. The SuperChefs Counsellors bands, one an acoustic trio (Cloe Tang, Jordan Tang and Austin Chang) , and the other a rock band, which featured all the counsellors, belted out I’m a Believer and Hungry Like A Wolf.

We had a number of volunteers we wish to thank who helped pull the production together, including Brian Chow and his film crew James Ross and Brian Arabsky (lights, sound), Jason Chen (sound, stage, lights), Kelly Kader (Hair), Fred Garbo (stage, production, performer), Kelly Boutilier and Ryan, Dagny Helgason, Suzette Damon, Mathew Mayo (kitchen helpers) and Jay Nunns and Tammy Knight (Circus West). The show was preceded by a reception that was catered by Jean Luc Barone and Vanessa Mendoza, who prepared an array of delectable hors d’oeurves that were simply out of this world. Organizing the reception as well as the prestigious SuperChefs Chef Jackets was our SuperChefs Executive Assistant Anne Pothier, who also assisted with assembling some kitchen equipment for the Cookery, putting together the SuperChefs Cookery Book for the children to take home, and organizing the volunteers in the kitchen and during the reception.

This all could not have happened without the enthusiasm and hard work of Michael Morgan and his able bodied assistant Cindy Wallace, who both worked tirelessly to ensure the SuperChefs Cookery was a success. They enlisted help from the Britannia Community Centre’s Tom Higashio, who recruited the kids, and we can’t forget the two counsellors from Britannia, Ricky Tu and Maryland Quijada, who accompanied the children throughout the Cookery. Betty Chan secured transportation for the kids to and from the Cookery, with Candice Harris Rivera volunteering to drive the bus to and from Zajac Ranch. A big thanks to Heidi and Mario Luongo, who provided nursing services to the children before boarding the bus and during the opening. Also a great big thanks to Carole Anne Soong, who donated money for the project, Sunrise Markets (Peter and Shirley Joe) who donated most of the food for the cooking classes, The Spice Depot for donating the Spices, and Gaults, who donated pans and utensils for the children to take home. Of course we must mention the support and financial assistance of Mel and Wendy Zajac, who opened their Ranch to us and made the entire project a reality. As well, thanks to the staff at Zajac Ranch (Tammy and Irv, Andrew, Simon, Ed, Brittany and Zac) who helped make our stay as comfortable as possible even through the heat wave that occurred during our stay.

Overall, it turned out to be a great community project in which everyone, not only the children that attended the Cookery, benefitted from in some way. Additional Cookery programs are being planned for sites in Quadra Island BC at Taku Resort, an inspiring location owned by Milton and Fei Wong, a resort dedicated to passing along intergenerational social values, a cornerstone in dealing with childhood obesity-ie getting back to the basics. There, children can visit oyster and mussel farms, go prawning and fishing, ocean kayaking, hiking and harvest honey and vegetables from organic gardens for a garden to table culinary experience. We look forward to the next SuperChefs Cookery in 2010 in our goal to suppress the growth and prevent childhood obesity.

And remember... a good chef is never without friends!

The Cookery was also an opportunity to unveil the SuperChefs Live Cirque Show, a co-production with Circus West.


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