I attended my first ever Food Talks presented by Vancouver Foodster last month. This was the 16th event and a very special one because the speakers were an all female lineup featuring female chefs and leaders in the food community.
Chef Barb Finley, Project Chef
Barb Finley is the Executive Director and founder of Project CHEF: Cook Healthy Edible Food, a non-profit society that runs elementary school and community programs. Project CHEF has taught more than 15,000 children and their families about wholesome food choices and how to make them.
Chef Parinya Loptson, Ban Chok Dee and BCD Culinary Academy
Parinya is chef-owner and operator of Ban Chok Dee (two locations in Maple Ridge and Langley). She also just opened BCD Academy – Langley’s first hands-on cooking school offering students their own prep and cooking stations.
Chef Lynda Larouche, Argo Cafe
After studying under a Cordon Bleu chef, Lynda worked as a chef and an executive chef for the Sequoia group for 25 years. She is currently the co-owner with her husband of the iconic Argo Café. She has mentored countless chefs over the years who are now running their own restaurants or working in leading kitchens around the world.
Chef Shobna Kannusamy, Soirette Pastry Boutique
Shobna owns and operates Soirette, a magical jewel-box pâtisserie situated in Coal Harbour. Traditional French pastry techniques are used to create an array of delectable desserts with a fusion twist.
Dana Lee Harris, BC Hospitality Foundation
Dana is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, is Executive Director of the BC Hospitality Foundation and is a certified fitness instructor. BCHF is a charity that raises funds to support those in the hospitality industry facing the financial crisis due to a health issue.
Some of the overarching themes of the evening were about following your passions in the face of adversity and social pressures. The female chefs shared similar stories in which their families were initially not supportive of their goals of being a chef versus a more “stable” career. Fuelled by their culinary dreams, these chefs persevered and have been crushing it in our food community through their creations. As for community organization leaders, the women were passionate about helping and supporting others through their non-profit work. Overall, it was an inspiring evening filled with laughter, emotional moments and most importantly, girl power!
To find more on the next Food Talks, visit foodtalks.ca