Filling Seats Is Filling Bellies

Filling seats is filling bellies

Winter is always a deadly time for Toronto restaurants.

Cold weather and post-Christmas penny-pinching slow dining to a crawl. Even in a good year, it’s difficult for many restaurants to break even without laying off staff. This year, it’s downright brutal. From Monday, Feb. 23, to Saturday, March 28, the Stop for Food campaign will offer prix fixe menus of varying courses and styles. What will be consistent is the $50 price, with $10 of each meal going to The Stop Community Food Centre, a west-end non-profit that runs a food bank, promotes urban agriculture, gives cooking demonstrations and feeds people who drop in for breakfast or lunch six times a week. Mark Cutrara, chef and owner of Cowbell restaurant in Parkdale, says the Stop for Food campaign is like an offshoot of Winterlicious but with more meaning. “The Stop is an amazing program,” he says. “It approaches everything that we believe at Cowbell: teaching a man to fish rather than giving him a fish.” Nick Saul, director of The Stop, says demand for the organization’s services has increased by 20 per cent recently. “We can’t afford to cut any programs or services when times are tough. We’ve got to be there for people.
“I’m just thrilled that there’s a community of chefs out there who understand and appreciate and support our work and are willing to band together and help us raise some funds. We’re really trying to re-invent the food bank into this community food centre approach.”

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