Some of Canada’s best chefs arrived in St. John’s, Newfoundland this past weekend for a very special event. The chefs are members of ‘The Syndicate’, a cooperative group of cooks brought together by Tanya Kelly, a former Toronto restaurant owner who founded The Blunt Roll apron company. Kelly created The Syndicate with the aim of helping chefs combine and share their skills and experience.
Tonight, eight Syndicate members will cook a seven-course tasting meal at Raymonds Restaurant in St. John’s. Proceeds from the fundraising dinner and auction will benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Janeway Children’s Hospital.
For the past two days, the chefs have been hunting, fishing, foraging and learning new skills from each other. Kelly, who is responsible for putting the event together, shared the following dispatch from the field:
After the arrival of all the chefs to Newfoundland and last night’s gathering at Mallard Cottage of what seemed like a good chunk of Canada’s kitchen brigades, the reason for The Syndicate (and every group of cooks that band together) is even clearer.
Like any great tribe or band – like all great families – there is a sense of place, belonging and strength that comes from being together. Social media has played a wonderful role in bringing chefs from all over the world together, but gathering them under one roof, wherever that may be, is what really brings the magic.
A common purpose – namely, beautiful food experiences – is the tie that binds and sharing those experiences with like-minded people is what turns them into meaningful discoveries.
The real reason to bring them together, however, is to give them something back for all they give to us. For their insane hours and their back-breaking and knee-wrecking work, these times together are their times, like recess at school. They love what they do, they give their lives for it – and it is important to let them share that with each other as often as possible.
Last night, chefs from all over Canada were welcomed to Mallard Cottage and there was as much laughter as there was food. The sincerity and heartiness of both were palpable. Bring chefs together and great things invariably happen. Not just incredible food, but teaching, sharing, discovery and renewed passions. As the saying goes, they “suck the marrow out of life.” Thank god, we are all better off for it.
Sitting in a forest in St. John’s, surrounded by the incredible Canadian chefs who happen to make up The Syndicate as they forage for mushrooms, there is no question why the kitchen is always the heart of every home: it’s because that’s where the best and most interesting people spend their time.
Tonight’s sold-out event features:
- Jeremy Charles, of Raymonds in St. John’s
- Connie DeSousa and John Jackson, of Charcut Roast House in Calgary
- Brandon Olsen, of Bar Isabel in Toronto
- Antonio Park, of Park Restaurant in Montreal
- Jesse Vergen, of Saint John Ale House in Saint John
- Dave Bohati, of Market in Calgary
- Jonathan Goodyear, of RCYC in Toronto