The 19th edition of Eat to the Beat – held on October 21st at Roy Thompson Hall – had extra significance this year, as Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support was also celebrating its 20th birthday. Eat to the Beat is an important fundraising and awareness event for Willow, having raised more than $3.5 million in the past twenty years.
Once again, top female chefs from Toronto and all over Canada participated. These are talented women, who came in support of women, and anyone suffering from or at risk of breast cancer. Guests were treated to the creations of sixty amazing chefs – dishes that spanned the spectrum from savoury to sweet. While it was nearly impossible to sample everything, we did have some favourites from those that we tried.
On the savoury side, one standout was the roasted pork belly from Chef Anne Yarymowich of George Brown College Chef School. This had sweetness from the crabapple glaze, tartness from the pink sauerkraut, extremely tender and juicy pork belly, and crispy pork crackling on top. The dish had great balance and harmony in texture and flavour.
From the sweet side, the lime curd tarts from Chef Wanda Beaver of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky were delicious. The pastry was light and flaky, and the custard itself had just the right amount of sour so as to not be overpowering. Chef Catherine O’Donnell’s chocolate nutella crunch cream cake was also a favourite of mine. O’Donnell’s Willow Cakes and Pastries is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, but they’ve been at Eat to the Beat since its first year!
A variety of wine and beer choices from different wineries and breweries were available to accompany all the great food. Non-alcohol beverages were also available including Coke, Limonana, and tea. Starbucks had a station for coffees and lattes, which were perfect complements to all the awesome desserts.
A live jazz band provided the entertainment for the night. Ladies, who are breast cancer survivors themselves, showcased their impressive food-inspired corsets, including one that was shaped like a birthday cake, and another that was mango-themed. Mystery bag sales, a silent auction, and a raffle, were also held for items generously donated by different donors.
Guests had a great time at Eat to the Beat, and together the event raised over $216000 for Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support. The funds will allow Willow to continue to expand and provide services and support nationwide to patients and families, so that no one should have to face breast cancer alone. Kudos to the organizing committee, the sponsors, and the chefs for generously donating their time, talent, and effort in support of a great organization. We look forward to 2015, when Eat to the Beat celebrates its 20th year.