Here are the highlights of the evening:
The stars aligned in perfect harmony as the sun shone brightly on the stylish guests walking the red carpet to the beat of the mesmerizing South African drummers. It was to be “An Evening of South African Splendour” to be sure. Lenny the Lion, mascot for the stunning venue Touch de L’Afrique in Oakville, joined us as we welcomed our guests, with “sawubona” “greetings” or “hello” in Zulu. With the TV cameras rolling and photographers clicking away the excitement was palpable.
Having just finished a brief trek in the “concrete” jungle, with Georgia at the wheel of our sleek, black Jeep, courtesy of Oakville Chrysler Dodge Jeep, we are clearly in the South African mode. Donning our safari hats, we join in with our guests as they follow the Zulu inspired dance moves of our Alpha Rhythm Roots drummers.
Our evening of “South African Splendor”, a fundraiser in support of the World Chefs Tour Against Hunger, a global initiative to combat hunger in South Africa and worldwide was just getting under way:
The red carpet is graced with the arrival of many distinguished guests including the Honorable Consul General of South Africa Tselane Mokuena. The CG shares a few words with us, her passion and enthusiasm is contagious, and her Zulu dance steps impressive.
Dr. Rose Jeans, decked out in classic black and radiant, takes a few minutes on the red carpet to speak with us too. A Silver sponsor of this important fundraiser, Dr. Jeans founder of Advanced Rejuvenation Medical Spa talks about the importance of good nutrition and ample water supply.
Formerly having worked in cardiac care and the ICU Dr. Jeans now specializes, at her medspa in boosting one’s confidence practicing treatments to help her clients look their best and be the best they can be!naturally.
Inside the music, the wines, South African inspired foods prepared by Chef Laura Brown and the delectable South African liqueur Amarula are tantalizing all the senses of the guests as they sip, munch, chat and discuss the Medicine Man’s interpretation of each of their inspirational stones. A long time custom In South Africa, Medicine Men are called “sangomas” are highly respected and practice a blend of herbal medicine, divination and counseling, Our readings were “divine” with travel and friendship figuring prominently, South Africa, here we come!
To swirl, sniff and slurp in the south west corner of this beautifully appointed retail store Touch de L’Afrique, brimming with South African artifacts, jewelry and small furnishings, were three wines; the Porcupine Ridge Syrah, (Vintages #595280), the Viognier/Grenache Blanc (Vintages #203893) and Goats Do Roam, a Rhone style red wine courtesy of RKW Wine Imports. Said one of the very satisfied guests Mike ” I just can’t get enough of this Syrah, I’ve found my new “go to” red wine for the summer”:
Fred Lamprecht of Lamprecht International was serving up a Boplass Chardonnay as well as the Bon Courage Gewurztraminer and Shiraz. Bon Courage Estate, located in the heart of Robertson valley, dates back to 1818 and is widely known for their exceptional quality:
When it came time to address the crowd, the evening was well on its way. Wine and conversation were flowing, our Medicine Man was making the rounds, the beautiful ladies at the Amarula table had introduced most everyone to the mythical stories surrounding their delicious liqueur Amarula and the Amarula Martini. It is made with the marula fruit, you see, which comes from the Elephant Tree. When the fruit drops to the ground, it begins to ferment, leaving monkeys and elephants “drunken” in the jungle!
We delivered a few words, spoke of the charity, our goal to help the Canadian Culinary team go to South Africa and help them go baring small Canadian gifts for the children.
We thanked our sponsors, spotlighting our Silver, including Dr. John Fasken, Orthodontic Specialist, responsible for Georgia’s son Mike’s straight pearly whites showing up on runways and in photo shoots, thank you Dr. Fasken! Janette Lourantos, Sales Representative for REMAX, hailing from South Africa, she has made Oakville her home and is the “go to” person if you are looking to move here, it is a small slice of paradise. For the best biltong within a 100-mile radius, for premium meats and service, there is only one guy! That is Damian Group of Florence Meats.
Time to give up the microphones and invite our first special guest to speak, the Honourable Consul-General Tselane Mokuena, the CG mesmerizes, she encapsulates the beauty and the energy of her home country and leaves us all adding South Africa to our bucket list of places to visit.
Next we invite Executive Chef Connie Volino, Canadian Culinary team leader to share a few words, who graciously asks Chef Shonah Chalmers, to join her at the podium. It is after all a collective effort and Shonah is a part of this team as are the Humber College students volunteering here this evening. Chef Connie recounts a story of her last trip to SA in 2003 when she was team leader. She tells us of the time she witnessed lines upon lines of small children, waiting for hours, holding out their hands for a palm of rice, with not a stir, not a scuffle, she was so touched by this and so were we. Volino then surprises us again and asks if Ian Gallagher might say a few words, he is the son of Dr. Bill Gallagher, the founder of World Chefs Tour Against Hunger, first held in 1993 raising 500,00 Rand. Mr. Gallagher is captivating as he speaks of his father’s commitment and his own experiences. The 2011 tour, it is hoped will raise close to 4 million rand, just imagine!
A few eyes are now lubricated, and it is time to thank everyone for their continuing generosity. We remind everyone as they enjoy the divine trio of two-bite Cheesecake-cupcakes from Coveted Cakes, to pay frequent visits to our fabulous silent auction table, complete with something for everyone from fashion items for men and women, stunning art pieces, wine related prizes to an art deco tribute to Marilyn Munroe; the bid sheets are awaiting your signature. Enjoy everyone, enjoy the Alpha drummers coming up next, and enjoy the drink, the food, the atmosphere, friends and the knowledge that you are a part of a very important global initiative. Good night everyone, and once again thank you , or in Zulu Ngiyabonga (kakhulu)!