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Finding a Cure for Diabetes with “The Meal”

Every family has a cause that is near and dear to them and in our household that cause is the Canadian Diabetes Association. As is usually the case, the reasoning behind such a devotion to an organzation is connected to a family member. In the mid 1980’s at a far too early age, my sister was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. As soon as my parents found out, they did what any devoted parents would do…they jumped in to the proverbial pool and promised to swim until a cure was found.

A cure has yet to be found, but as each day passes with the time and energy given by volunteers to raise money, a cure is that much closer.  One such fundraiser for diabetes research is called The Meal. Now in its 29th year, The Meal has raised over $1,000,000 to fund research, patient support and education awareness of diabetes.

Duo of asparagus and Maui onion soup garnished with ginger-spiced duck dumplings with wild mushrooms

Since my parents are a part of the organizing committee of The Meal, I was asked to join them for the menu tasting at the London (Ontario) Hilton where The Meal has called home since it began in 1982. The Meal began as an opportunity for chefs to push their culinary boundaries and that continues today with this year’s menu. It will begin as always with a reception of champagne, martinis, caviar and other amuse bouches to awaken the senses. The first service is a duo of asparagus and Maui onion soup garnished with ginger-spiced duck dumplings with wild mushrooms. Not only was the soup rich and smooth but it was soothing in its yin yang presentation.

The fish course was butter-poached kingfish served with a crushed pea ravioli, carrot puree and a walnut vinaigrette. Anything poached in butter is a winner and this was no exception. As my fork touched the fish, it just flaked off and fell into the vinaigrette and shortly after it melted in my mouth.

Blue Dragon sorbet of Absolut Mandarin and Blue Curacao

The palette cleanser was a Blue Dragon sorbet of Absolut Mandarin and Blue Curacao which did just that. It was refreshing and the electric blue sorbet just popped off the bowl.

Mustard seed encrusted veal accompanied with roasted fingerling potatoes, petit pan squash and madjool date compote

The last course (before dessert of course) was mustard seed encrusted veal accompanied with roasted fingerling potatoes, petit pan squash and this incredible madjool date compote. All I know is I need to find the recipe for the compote. And as usual, each course will be paired with a wine showcasing the vineyards of Ontario.

Like any good event to be successful, it takes the generosity of others and the Hilton has provided the resources of the hotel and their Executive Chef. This year, as in the last few years, Executive Chef Todd Pylypiw will work with his fellow chefs from the London area that have also donated their time and knife skills for a gastronomic event for a worthy cause.

The Meal will be held on April 17th, 2011 at the Hilton hotel in London, Ontario. The reception commences at 17:00 and dinner begins at 18:00. Tickets are $150 and a tax receipt will be issued for part of it. For tickets or futher information, please call Robert or Mina at 519-432-8327.

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