Chef's Choice: dine out — make a difference 

click to enlarge DINNER DONATION Brad Cumming is one of the Whistler chefs making a difference on March 7 by participating in Dining Out For Life.
  • DINNER DONATION Brad Cumming is one of the Whistler chefs making a difference on March 7 by participating in Dining Out For Life.

Six Whistler restaurants, and one establishment in Squamish, are doing something amazing next week.

They are all taking part in the annual Dining Out for Life fundraiser for those living with HIV/AIDS.

Two of the chefs featured previously in the Pique's "Chef's Choice" are participating in the event which takes place March 7.

Brad Cumming from the Westin and Bala Kumana from Hy's Steakhouse have both stepped up to take part. They join eateries the Mix by Ric's and Ric's Grill along with Nagomi Sushi, Tapley's Neighbourhood Pub and the Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Company in Squamish.

To mark the coming of Dining Out For Life event we have dusted off Brad Cumming's popular onion soup recipe originally published in December.

The chefs and restaurant workers in the Sea to Sky area are part of an effort from Whistler to Whiterock, and into the Fraser Valley, to support people living with HIV/AIDS. Dining Out For Life is the largest restaurant fundraiser in B.C.

The participating restaurants have pledged to donate 25 per cent of their food sales on March 7. The money raised will go to A Loving Spoonful and Friends For Life. The two charity organizations have benefited to the tune of $3 million over the last 18 years through the generosity of the participating restaurants and the people who have made a point of eating at those outlets on past Dining Out For Life days.

Chef Peter Dutton and the team at Tapley's are going to make their donation from lunch and dinner sales.

Chef Brendan Cooke at the Howe Sound Inn will prepare food with his team and 25 per cent of what is sold in the pub and in the Firebread restaurant is going into the charity fund. The lone participating Squamish outlet is located at the end of Cleveland Avenue in the downtown area of Squamish.

It is appropriate that a restaurant fundraising initiative is benefiting A Loving Spoonful as that charity organization provides free nutritious meals to men, women and kids living with HIV/AIDS. In the past year the organization has provided 100,000 meals.

Meanwhile, Friends For Life offers those suffering through HIV/AIDS access to naturopathic and Chinese medicine services, support, wellness workshops and counselling.

A giveaway has been set up for six lucky diners on March 7. Everyone who participates in Dining Out For Life has the opportunity to enter a draw for one of three prize packages. The prizes include a Vancouver sports package, a weekend at the River Rock Casino Resort and a weekend getaway to Victoria.

The sports package has tickets to see the BC Lions, the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Vancouver Giants while the Victoria getaway includes flights from Helijet, two nights at the Coast Victoria Hotel Harbourside and Marina, dinner for two at Blue Crab Bar and Grill, plus an ocean cruiser tour with the whale watching tour company Prince of Whales.

The River Rock package includes a two-night stay, in a one-bedroom penthouse, a $250 dinner certificate for Tramonto Fine Dining Restaurant and a buffet breakfast for two.

The Dining Out For Life concept is being used across the continent. Seattle will hold its 20th annual event on April 25 and on the same date restaurants in Denver, Colorado will also donate 25 per cent of their food sales to charitable causes. Kamloops has also selected April 25 to support the ASK Wellness Centre in Kamloops. Vancouver Island has also chosen April 25 with proceeds generated on the island going to AIDS Vancouver Island. The 70 island restaurants that participated last year raised $35,000 from Port Hardy to Victoria.

There's more information available about Dining Out For Life at

Aubergine Grille – Westin Whistler Resort and Spa

Hy's Steakhouse – Main Street

Mix by Ric's – Village

Ric's Grill – Crystal Lodge

Nagomi Sushi – Upper Village

Howe Sound Inn - Squamish

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