Chefs from across the West will cook a five-course meal in support of women and mental health. 

In 2015, when Aman Dosanj of The Paisley Notebook was travelling, she received tragic news that the stepdaughter of a close friend had lost their battle with mental health and sadly taken her own life. When Dosanj, who already had the idea to create an event celebrating women in food and wine, returned to the Okanagan the next year, she decided to expand on the idea, combining it with a mental health charity fundraiser. “I don’t think there is anything better than when things are paired,” she says. So, on International Women’s day, five powerhouse female chefs from B.C. and Alberta will be teaming up to create an epic five-course meal with wine pairings in support of Foundry KelownaKaris Support Society and Slow Food in Canada (three charities dedicated to supporting the mental health of Canadians and sustainable food security).The event, now in it’s second year, is not your average wine makers dinner. “It’s not one of those events where you buy a ticket because you think it’s a cool line up,” says Dosanj. “The charity is present the whole way through.” Some of the participating chefs, including Dosanj, will also be telling their own personal stories during the evening—and each printed menu will include a “food memory” that tells the story of an individual and discusses the relationship between food and mental health.All of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the chosen charities, and this year, the event is looking to beat last years total of $7, 709 by expanding it’s capacity and including our country cousins to the east—timely, given the current state of wine relations between B.C. and Alberta. The visiting chefs will primarily be bringing Albertan ingredients to inspire their dishes and Dosanj believes this is a good opportunity for the Okanagan to see what Alberta can do: “Women can support women. We don’t need to make a big song and dance about it,” she says. “It’s not about who can shout the loudest.”Each chef is responsible for a course on the set menu, keeping in mind the 2018 International Women’s Day campaign focus #PressForProgress. The hashtag is a reaction to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report that stated gender parity is over 200 years away and comes on the heels of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements in Hollywood and around the world. #PressForProgress serves as a reminder to stay motivated and keep pushing for gender equality in the face of a disheartening announcement.”No chef is limited…they can cook their own style,” says Dosanj which means the menu promises to be full of variety. Dosanj is particularly excited about changing the status-quo with “elevated Asian” dishes that you don’t often see on set menus. Look out for an Indian dish by Dosanj herself followed by a Korean or Thai course from Jinhee Lee. “If you give people the time and opportunity to speak, people will surprise you,” she says. “This event is all about kindness. If the world was a little kinder people wouldn’t need to use services like Foundry…it’s an event where you’re going to feel warm and fuzzy at the end!”

International Women’s Day Dinner

Thursday, March 86 to 9:30 p.m.Tantalus Vineyards1670 DeHart Rd, KelownaTickets are $165 and go on sale Monday, February 19 at 9 a.m. (Due to the scale of the event and the set menu not all dietary restrictions can be met).