This year’s Eat to the Beat culinary fundraiser was a very significant one. October 21, 2014 was the twentieth anniversary of Willow Breast and Hereditary Cancer Support, a non-profit organization that offers free peer support, programs, and resources to anyone affected by breast and hereditary cancer. Since its inception in 1994, Willow continues to provide assistance, encouragement, and education to its clients through a community support program, Willow’s Health Librarian, and a variety of campaigns and projects. Eat to the Beat is the foundation’s most important fundraiser and has raised over $3.5 million with over 80% of the proceeds going straight to its services and programs.

Emily Richards Ricotta and Roasted Red Pepper Crostini at eat to the beat 2014
Emily Richards Ricotta and Roasted Red Pepper Crostini at Eat to the Beat 2014

Over sixty of Canada’s most talented female chefs donated their resources- time, talent, food, and support-to this year’s Eat to the Beat. Chefs that were present included Wanda Beaver of Wanda’s Pie In The Sky; Chef Veronique of Crepes A Gogo and Limonana; Dufflet Rosenberg of Dufflet Pastries; and Rose Reisman of Rose Reisman Catering. There was also a great selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from eight wineries (Casa Dea Winery and Rosewood Estates being two of them), Still Waters Distillery, Steamwhistle Pilsner, and Tealish Fine Teas. There was also a Starbucks pop-up café for people who wanted to enjoy a chai tea latte or decaf coffee with their food.

Highlights of the evening included live jazz music from the very talented Liam Masil-Mitro Quartet, with Liam on saxophone, Alex on piano, Julian on bass, and Matt on drums. The beautiful corset models, a longstanding tradition of Eat to the Beat, greeted guests and assisted the volunteers with selling raffle tickets. These amazing women, who themselves are breast cancer survivors, sported many colourful food-themed corsets such as a bottle of Hynoptiq, A willow tree, and a multi-tiered birthday cake. The silent auction featured prizes that included kitchenware from Le Creuset, tickets to an upcoming Toronto Raptors game, tickets to a FIFA Women’s World Cup game with airfare included, and a surprisingly large amount of bird feeders.
The never-ending variety of food and drinks presented to the guests was hands-down the best part of the evening! Each guest received a program that listed all of the chefs and their dishes, which was so handy in trying to decide which dish to eat first. Some of the dishes incorporated some of this year’s food trends. Coconut was a main ingredient in the caramelized pineapple and coconut cream tarts from The Cake Lady-Edible Art.

The Cake Lady Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut Cream Tarts at eat to the beat 2014
The Cake Lady – Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut Cream Tarts

The smoked salmon éclairs (éclairs being another current food trend) from Berber Social was one of the favourite dishes of the night. As for the desserts, there were plenty of cakes, tarts, macarons, and chocolate treats to go around! The lime curd tarts from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky were delicious and had a perfect balance of tart and sweet. The flourless dark chocolate cake silk cake with frangelico cream was rich, dense, and so decadent. The lemon and mint-infused limonana drink from Chef Veronique was refreshing and a great palate cleanser. The evening concluded with thank you speeches from Barbra Track, the Eat to the Beat Committee Chair, and Jeffrey Beach, the Executive Director of Willow and the announcement of the raffle prizewinners.
It was a pleasure to have once again attended the annual Eat to the Beat fundraiser. It was an entertaining evening of great food and great company for one amazing cause. This year’s Eat to the Beat raised over $200,000 for Willow. It’s wonderful knowing that there are so many generous people willing to donate their time and resources to an organization that helps thousands of people who have been or going through the dark days of breast and hereditary cancer. Events such as Eat to the Beat reminds us that there will always be support for people going through breast cancer and that they will never be alone.

See also:
Eat to the Beat 2013
Eat to the Beat 2012

(Photo credit: Ashley Lloyd. Ashworth Associates Public Relations)

19th Annual Eat to the Beat 2014

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