By Jared Davidson –
On October 3, Lansdowne’s Horticulture Building will be filled with the smells of fresh baked bread, deli meats, and fancy garnishes. Hopewell Eating Disorder Support Centre’s Breaking Bread, Breaking Stigma fundraiser will unite many of the city’s most influential and interesting culinary wizards for a friendly competition. At stake is the coveted title of Sandwich Sovereign of Ottawa.
Two of Kitchissippi’s own are among the competitors: Patrick Garland of Absinthe and Tim Stock of Thyme and Again. The two men have worked together many times, and are no doubt wishing each other the best of luck. However, Tim is fiercely gunning for the title, neighbourliness be darned.
“You always want to win it,” he says, laughing. “You definitely always want to win it.”
This is Tim’s first time competing in the competition, which had its debut last year. He’s excited to show people what he’s been working on, but absolutely refused to reveal what he’ll be making for the competition, only hinting at seafood. The game is quite clearly afoot.
For this second iteration, the fundraiser will likely benefit from a more central location but will stick to what worked last year.
“The sandwiches chefs can come up with are fantastic,” says Katherine Henderson of Anchor Psychological Services on Wellington West, a Hopewell board member and sandwich lover. For her, it’s about the food.
“Eating disorders aren’t about food, but food is the medicine that starts people onto the path of recovery,” she says. “When you have an eating disorder, you can’t be with people and you can’t enjoy food and it’s so isolating.”
The goal of Breaking Bread, Breaking Stigma is both to bring people together and celebrate food and recovery. Katherine says many people suffering from eating disorders have difficulty feeling supported in a culture where they are consistently ignored or diminished.
“It’s still so important that we work on the stigma surrounding eating disorders because they’re so cloaked in shame,” she says.
And so the chefs will be making healthy, delicious food that is both accessible and delightful.
“You’re gonna avoid super gourmet ingredients that don’t make any sense,” says Tim. “You always want to take into consideration who you’re cooking for.”
In this case, the chefs will be cooking for an audience whose experience with food can be complex and traumatic. For Tim, there is a necessity for sensitivity, at least an acknowledgment of the complexity, in this context.
But it’s still about making an excellent sandwich that will be worthy of the title of Sandwich Sovereign of Ottawa, quite a coveted title. Other chefs competing include representatives from the Belmont and students from Algonquin College.
Gourmet sandwich makers will compete, not only to break the stigma around eating disorders, but also to support Eastern Ontario’s only non-profit working in this area. Hopewell has helped many, and continues to be a support from its location in Vanier. They provide preventative body image programs in schools to help young people feel good about themselves.
We wish our Wellington West chefs luck in the competition, and urge them to remember the spirit of Kitchissippi: collaboration, friendly competition and making absolutely delicious food.
For tickets visit hopewell.ca.
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This feature is brought to you in part by Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre.