CBJ Onsite: We Salute da Vinci with The Wine Ladies

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There are things I like about my job—underground parking, for example, is nice when it’s cold outside. And there are things I love about my job—like attending classy wine events with delicious food and even better company.

A few weeks ago, our friends, The Wine Ladies, invited CBJ to join them at an event they hosted for the Salute Toronto Wine & Food Festival, called We Salute da Vinci. Located at the prestigious Carlu Concert Hall, the event featured some of the best winemakers and chefs our country has to offer, including a few hosts from the Food Network.

The night was kicked off with a toast from The Wine Ladies, who kept the crowd happy and laughing—a painless job when everyone has a wine glass in hand. Following close behind them was Steve Thurlow, a wine educator to help inexperienced guests pair their food with the variety of available wines. After the speeches, it was time for food.

To start, Lynn Crawford, Restaurant Makeover chef, presented the cheese table. It sounded pretty standard, until I was handed an Avonlea Cheddar Sundae, complete with pickled cherries, thyme whipped cream and peppered marcona almond brittle. I’ve never had cheese ice cream before, but I promise you it tastes much better than it sounds. We marvelled at her ingenuity.

Next was Everyday Exotic chef, Roger Mooking’s shrimp ravioli. After he served up his delicious, bite-sized appetizers, Mooking—a seeming jack of all trades—entertained the crowd as the lead vocalist in his live band.

The entree was probably our favourite. Claudio Rossi, the Executive Chef from Four Seasons Toronto offered a saffron risotto and slow-roasted loin of Ontario veal with a brushstroke of truffled veal jus. My mouth waters even now, as I recall it. Finally for dessert, Fresh chef, Anna Olson, made date crostatas and orange pine nut tarts—I enjoyed two of each. To top it all off, The Wine Ladies introduced us to each of the featured chefs, which was the highlight of my life week.
But enough about food. It was charity that backdropped the evening and was the real reason to celebrate. A live silent auction was held to help raise money for the Toronto East General Hospital to buy a da Vinci Robotic Surgical System.

For those who aren’t familiar, the da Vinci System provides surgeons with an alternative to both traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy, putting a doctor’s hands at the controls of a state-of-the-art robotic platform. With this system, surgeons at Toronto East General can perform even the most complex and delicate procedures through very small incisions with unmatched precision. The benefits for the patient include less pain and scarring, short recovery time and, in many cases, better clinical outcomes. Needless to say, this instrument would prove very useful and the opportunity to acquire one was certainly worth organizing an event around.

We Salute da Vinci’s fundraisers knew that to raise significant proceeds, there had to be enticing prizes. They did a fabulous job of finding worthwhile items. The main attraction at the silent auction was a once-in-lifetime trip to France for a private viewing of the Mona Lisa! Spolier alert: Neither our photographer, Shabnam, nor I won the trip.

Even without the wine and food, We Salute da Vinci was surely a worthwhile occasion in itself. CBJ is honoured to be a part of bringing more attention to this cause and we’re happy the auction was such a success. If you’re interested in learning more about Toronto East General hospital’s quest for a da Vinci Robotic Surgical System or if you would like to donate, please visit www.tegh.on.ca.

Our thanks again to The Wine Ladies for extending the invitation. And remember to stay tuned for their contributing article in the July issue of The Canadian Business Journal. Cheers!

The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne

Sisters, business partners, national newspaper columnists, TV personalities and radio hosts, these ladies share their passion for wine, food and living to the fullest and without hesitation. Their motto, "everything in life somehow comes back to the vine," keeps audiences entertained and informed. Join the ladies live on the air every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. on CP24 radio 1050 or on line at www.CP24.com as they host special guests from all walks of life on their weekly wine and lifestyle radio show. From chefs, winemakers and sommeliers to artists, musicians, politicians and athletes, Georgia and Susanne have a talent for discussion that’s always fun and enthusiastic. www.TheWineLadies.com

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