Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Supporting Tomorrow's Chefs Today: On-line Auction Now Open For Ron Eade Culinary Bursary

The special eBay auction site is now open in support of Algonquin College's Ron Eade Culinary Bursary. Get in on the fun and support a great cause. 39 spectacular auction items await you.

The Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism is launching the bursary with a student-led fundraising dinner this Thursday, March 21.

Event co-ordinators, Scott Warrick and Mario Ramsay, both chef professors at Algonquin College, couldn't be more pleased with how Ottawa has responded to support the launch.

First, the good news of so many impressive auction items pouring in. Then, the dinner tickets sold out quickly. An added bonus has been the generousity shown by those who have chosen to give direct donations to the bursary.

Warrick told me today, "The investment in the bursary thus far means it is already financially viable and ready to go."

Although the dinner is sold out, Warrick and Ramsay have arranged for the auction items to be available to all through a special eBay auction site. The auction will remain open for bids until this Thursday, March 21 at 9:00 pm edt.

To shop, those at the dinner will be placing their bids on the eBay site too. That evening MC Derick Fage of Rogers Daytime Ottawa, will be getting the dinner guests in the dining room whipped into a spending frenzy and you can compete along side them.

It is as easy as 1-2-3, to start shopping today.  If you have an eBay account already, just sign in.  If not, the registration sign-up is straightforward.  Even if your strategy is to play big on the night of the event, make sure your account is set up and ready to go now. Though, you might enjoy some practise bidding beforehand!

I for one have bookmarked this special site (http://stores.ebay.ca/Ron-Eade-Culinary-Bursary-Auction), as well as installed the eBay app on my smartphone. Some of my bids are already in.

For those attending the event and not 'packing' technology, a bank of computers will be available so you can keep shopping throughout the evening.

A number of well-known graduates of the culinary programs at Algonquin College have thrown their support behind the event.  When you check out the auction items their generousity looms large.  Look for the names Michael Moffatt,  John Leung, Walid El-Tawel, Katie Brown Ardington, Patricia Larkin and Anna March to name a few.

The bigger ticket items of special chef dinners in your home are real crowd-pleasers.  I confess to having a personal history of seeking out these types of auction items.  They are ideal for celebrating a very special occasion with close friends and family.  We have even teamed up with other couples to win ourselves a night to remember. Maybe this time it will be your turn.

One of the chef dinners being much talked about includes graduates Patricia Larkin, Chef at Black Cat Bistro, Anna March, Resident Chef at Urban Element, and Katie Brown Ardington Chef de Cuisine at Beckta.  To create an out-of-this-world dining experience, they will team with Pascale Berthiaume of Pascale's All Natural Ice Cream and Marysol Foucault, owner/chef of both Edgar and Odile.

One graduate who is in full support of the event is Patricia Larkin, Chef at Black Cat Bistro.

Patricia Larkin, Chef at Black Cat Bistro. Photo Credit: roneade.com.

I spoke with Chef Larkin recently. Lucky for us that she chose to follow her passion.  She told me that she almost missed her calling.  
"I was taking early childhood education in 2000 and knew I would rather be cooking. But I just couldn't get over the idea of wearing those checkered pants! After a year of walking past the culinary wing, wishing I was in there, I bit the bullet, bought the checkered pants and enrolled in culinary management from 2001-2003."

This bursary means a lot to the students coming through the culinary program. Extra financial support  can make a difference to stemming the tide of the mounting costs for post secondary schooling. Larkin shares her insights.  
"The money would of course be helpful for all the extras that the program requires such as uniforms, knives, tools and books. Also, because the culinary field has become so popular in the last 10 years I suspect more and more students are coming from out of town, which makes cost of living quite expensive for a student. This bursary will give a hard working student the confidence and support to succeed through the program and start their career."

Is Larkin glad she made the program switch from early childhood education to culinary management?  She sure is.  
"I had a very good experience in the culinary management program at Algonquin.I learned a lot and I enjoyed being there. It is what set me up for the career I have now. With a push from Chef/Professor Mario Ramsay, I applied to work at the Fairmont Hotel in Jasper, Alberta after college. I stayed for 2.5 years and came back to Ottawa with more skills and a thicker skin - two things you need in the kitchen."

Asked why we should support the establishment of this bursary, Larkin says,  
"For one, it is a great way to honour Ron Eade's career and all he has done for the culinary field in Ottawa. Also, this bursary is going to not only financially help but also inspire and give confidence to a culinary student on the same path that I took 10 years ago. That support will go a long way."

Do we want a few more Chef Larkins in our kitchens here in Ottawa?  You bet we do.  Here is your chance to make a difference for tomorrow's chefs today. Participate in the eBay auction. Start your bidding.  Bid big and bid often.

  • Setup (or dust off) your eBay account. (Dinner guests that are a bit technology shy can get assistance Thursday evening.)
  • If you have a smartphone or iPad, download the eBay app for table side mobile shopping.
  • Check out out the eBay auction website before Thursday's dinner and start bidding.
  • Not a shopper? Consider a direct donation to the bursary at CanadaHelps.org. [Full tax receipt issued.]
  • Dinner guests: Prep your party clothes - Reception starts 5:30 pm. Dinner at 6:30 pm. The Restaurant International at Algonquin College, 1385 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa
  • More information on the College’s event website

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