Photos: Passions 2014 fundraiser unites food and philanthropy

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      On September 14, I attended the Scotiabank Passions gala in support of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation as a media guest. For its 11th year, the popular fundraising event featuring over 20 Vancouver restaurants as well as live and silent auctions moved to a new venue: the Imperial Vancouver (319 Main Street).

      Previously, Passions had been held at the Dr. Peter Centre in the West End. Event organizers noted that the new venue not only provided a larger space for the gala and its growing number of guests, but also prevented disruption of services—including daily health programs, therapies, and meals—provided at the centre.

      This year, the event raised over $125,000 for the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, a Vancouver-based non-profit that provides comfort care and resources for people living with HIV/AIDS. All proceeds from Passions are donated, and the event has raised more than $1.1 million since its inception.

      Passions founder Nathan Fong addresses guests, while emcees Jonny Staub and Sophie Lui stand by.
      Michelle da Silva

      Over three-quarters of the restaurants were returning participants from last year. These included Beaucoup Bakery, Cibo Trattoria, CinCin Restaurant + Bar, Coast, Espana, Forage, Glowbal, Joe Fortes, Maenam, MARKET by Jean-Georges, Miku, Minami, The Observatory, Provence, Savoury Chef Foods, Tojo’s, and West.

      New to this year’s event were Bella Gelateria, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, The Fat Badger, and Raw Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.

      Each restaurant is tasked with preparing a small dish or bite. This year’s offerings included sushi, charcuterie, ravioli, duck confit, and desserts, such as macarons, kouign amann, and even gelato.

      To pair with all of the dishes, two of Vancouver’s top bartenders—Danielle Tatarin from the Keefer and Lauren Mote from Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar—created cocktails featuring Victoria Gin and Bittered Sling bitters. There was also beer from R&B Brewing Co., and wines from New Zealand Winegrowers.

      This year, Passions was emceed by Global BC Morning News anchor Sophie Lui and The Beat 94.5FM morning show host Jonny Staub. Local media personality Fred Lee stepped in to host the live auction. Passions was founded by Vancouver-based food stylist, and food and travel writer Nathan Fong.

      Photos from Passions 2014 below.

      Legendary Vancouver chef Hidekazu Tojo hands a Passions guest some sushi.
      Michelle da Silva
      Two types of pressed sushi—Aburi salmon oshi sushi and Aburi ebi oshi sushi—created by Japanese restaurants Miku and Minami.
      Michelle da Silva
      Forage chef Chris Whittaker brought head cheese with IPA mustard and pickled vegetables to the event.
      Michelle da Silva
      Bartender Lauren Mote mixes up the Madam Geneva cocktail, which includes Victoria gin, fino sherry, peach bitters, and a black current, lemon, and peach syrup.
      Michelle da Silva
      Maenam brought a version of Thai snack miang kham. This one contained poached crab, toasted coconut, peanuts, lime, ginger, and a galangal shrimp paste dressing wrapped in betal leaves.
      Michelle da Silva
      Cones of albacore and sockeye salmon tartare with spicy soy-ginger-ponzu dressing, and wasabi aioli created by Joe Fortes chef Wayne Sych.
      Michelle da Silva
      Chef Neil Taylor (left), owner of The Fat Badger and Espana, offered two dishes—Stilton soaked in Port and Iberico ham with quince and Manchego—at Passions.
      Michelle da Silva
      Melt-in-your-mouth ravioli with roasted walnut truffle vinaigrette from CinCin.
      Michelle da Silva
      Bartender Danielle Tatarin created the blueberry- and orange-infused Le Petit Bleuet cocktail for guests.
      Michelle da Silva
      Chef Alex Chen from Boulevard restaurant made duck breast with fig, pistachio, and apple butter.
      Michelle da Silva
      Spiced apple kouign amann pastries from Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe.
      Michelle da Silva
      Bella Gelateria was on hand to provide Passions guests with scoops of gelato.
      Michelle da Silva
      A performance by Salsabrosa, a Vancouver-based all-female Cuban salsa group, included local chef and Provence co-owner Alessandra Quaglia.
      Michelle da Silva

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