Every year Montreal’s media and bloggers receive hundreds of invitations to VIP nights out on the town. We attend the hottest openings, the coolest launches and eat at the greatest new restaurants all while rubbing shoulders with some of the city’s brightest stars. Last week we received a mysterious invitation from Bob le chef, a culinary anarchist and local celebrity chef. Details concerning the night were scarce and buzz quickly built around what could be happening. The only information given was the time and the place where we had to be; that was it. Little did we know, the invitation was going to be one of the most important of the year.
When the big night finally came a couple of us had been at the Ritz-Carlton earlier in the evening for a taping of a new music video for the hotel. We were in high spirits as we left for our mysterious night out with Bob le chef. We arrived at Le Tableau Blanc, a beautiful co-working space in St. Henri and joined our friends and colleagues. The space had been set up with a long communal table, dressed up with pine bows, holly and flickering candles in glistening jars. Cocktails and wine were served and we mingled while trying to figure out what the hell was going on.
After a short while we were invited to take our places at the table. Everyone settled in as we prepared for our first course. The appetizer was a delightful salmon gravlax and that’s where things got a little strange. The second course, “soupe à la Bob” came served in a Campbell’s soup can and it turned out to be a heated can of Campbell’s tomato soup. Around the table people started questioning what was going on. Were we being duped? A film crew was recording the meal and our reactions to the curious choice of soup. The third plate of the evening was pasta. Just pasta. It was adorned with a little salt and dressed with olive oil. At this point I was gathered that something was up and a point was about to be made.
The fourth service was revealed to be an empty plate with a note from La Grande Guignolée des médias. Every year hundreds of thousands of people across the province have to go without food. The bloggers and media who are often so richly received were now faced with a meal that many people have no choice but eat and are often lucky to have. It was a ballsy move on the part of the Montreal Media’s Big Food Drive to invite bloggers to such an event. Many of us don’t get paid for what we so passionately do and many of us sometimes survive off the bouchees and canapés we fight for at our events. It could have backfired but in the end the ballsy move paid off and we were left speechless. After the meal and a man was invited to speak to us. He told a compelling story of how he ended up having to raise two kids on his own and had to chose between work and raising them. He used food banks to survive and keep his children safe. Have a look at the video below (in French only).
I’ve known hunger in the past and I am sure I may know it again. There are times when it’s hard to make ends meet but I am lucky that I have never had to use the services of a food bank. It’s so important that this service exist for those who need it. We never know when it will be our turn to use a food bank to keep the hunger away. I encourage you all to visit La Grande Guignolée’s website to learn about how you can donate money or food to the cause. There are hundreds of drop off points around Montreal, making it easy for us all to help. No one should be hungry around Christmas or any time of the year for that matter.
Thanks to La Grande Guignolée des médias for this touching and heartwarming experience.