Anne Olson, Alexandra Gill and Andrew Morrison talk for a cause at The Art of Food Writing
The Art of Food Writing Event, held at UBC's Cecil Green Park House, was not your typical charity function. It allowed engaging one-on-one interactions between renowned food writers and the audience. Everyone left with a different perspective of food culture and gained respect for the amount of work that authors in this industry put into their work.
The panel of speakers included Alexandra Gill, the famed food critic for The Globe and Mail. Gill talked about how she began her career covering arts and culture in Toronto. Only after she moved to Vancouver did she realize how important food was to readers on the West Coast. As a widely known food critic, Gill said that anonymity is ideal in her field, though the concept is somewhat overrated. She joked that her opinion couldn't be swayed by extra dinner courses and copious amounts of wine, adding that she might even expose restaurants that try to bribe her for a good review. The next speaker was Andrew Morrison, the editor of Scout Magazine and restaurant critic for the Westender. Morrison said that he grew up in a family of restaurateurs, and eventually found himself passionate about food writing. An especially interesting feature that Scouts Magazine has is a list of up and coming dining hotspots which keeps readers up to date and informed about the ever changing food scene in the city.
The last speaker of the evening was Food Network celebrity chef Anna Olson. She is known for her appearance in the shows Sugar and Fresh and has recently published her seventh cookbook, “Back to Baking.” Though she is an avid pastry chef now, Olson went through major career changes to get where she is today. She recounted how she began working in Toronto's financial district after completing a political science/sociology degree, before it suddenly dawned on her one night that she was destined to cook for a living.
Though the guest speakers were from very different backgrounds, their common ground -- food, that is -- allowed them to expand on each other’s answers and spark conversations with the audience.
All the proceeds collected through the fundraiser talks go towards the KidSafe Writers’ Room Program, which helps at-risk and vulnerable children between the ages 5-13. The program encourages children to try creative writing, and gives the the opportunity to work one-on-one with mentors. The organization provides a nuturing atmosphere for children even during school breaks so they are more likely to stay on the right track.
For more information on how you can help or donate, visit www.kidsafe.ca.
Be sure to check back for our exclusive interview with the one and only Anna Olson!