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Vancouver Foodies Dine and Donate


There was strength in united culinary efforts as chef Jeff Van Geest and fellow chefs and musicians pulled off a gala dinner in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.

Van Geest, who grew up in the Christian Reformed Church and has been a chef in Vancouver for 15 years, said he “was moved to do something” to help after the Jan. 12 earthquake hit Haiti, and his friends and colleagues jumped at his idea.

A seven-course meal, which included seared Pacific scallops, coconut cream braised pork cheek salad, and local wines, was complemented by local musical talent.

With only 10 days from idea to reality, Van Geest was pleased with the final result. “Social networking, Facebook, Twitter, and old-fashioned email were huge in making this event happen,” he said. “It was a mix of CRC folks, local ‘foodies,’ and well-heeled socialites.”

Van Geest suggested Christian Reformed World Relief Committee as the beneficiary of the dinner because of the assurance that funds raised would go directly to relief and rebuilding in Haiti. The $31,000 raised at the dinner will be matched by the Canadian government to total $62,000.

Van Geest’s brother, Matthew, who has worked for CRWRC and is presently in Haiti, challenged the diners to make a difference by “considering your own lifestyle and its impacts, by caring. And you do care. That is why you are here, and I thank you for that.”

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