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Chef’s dinner could become annual tradition


About 75 people were treated to a gourmet meal during the “Chef’s Charitable Dinner and Auction,” a fundraiser for the local Alzheimer Society held Sunday night at the Adventure Inn here.

“It was fantastic,” Margaret Schonewille, executive director of the Alzheimer Society for the Kenora/Rainy River districts, enthused Monday.

Being its first year in Fort Frances, the dinner did not see a sold-out crowd, she admitted, but it’s quite possible there will be another such fundraiser next year.

“It all depends on whether the chefs are willing to do it again,” Schonewille remarked.

She noted the local Alzheimer Society has held its highly-successful “Taste of Kenora” fundraiser for the past five years, raising around $13,000 in total there (as of yesterday, Schonewille did not have any fundraising totals for Sunday night’s dinner added up).

And while the Kenora dinner now sells out months beforehand, about the same number of tickets were sold in its first year as the event here did, she added.

Schonewille co-ordinated a number of chefs and suppliers from the region to provide their culinary expertise and food for the fundraiser.

The chefs included Achour Cheblaoui (La Flambée), Don Eldridge (Lee Garden), Ray Daniels (Emo Inn), Duane Cridland (Gillons’ Insurance), Joe Katz (Kenwood Steakhouse), and Mark Nagant.

“I had a great time,” said Cheblaoui. “If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it.

“I was working from eight in the morning until 11 at night, and my feet were bleeding,” he joked. “But I had a wonderful time, especially when people came up to me and shook my hand.”

When Cheblaoui was asked if he would cook again if approached to do it next year, he replied, “I would be more than happy.”

Local MP Ken Boshcoff, who was confirmed as a participant prior to the federal election being called, was the honourary chef. But in a light-hearted speech, he assured everyone on hand that he did not actually cook anything.

The delicious dinner began with appetizers, including paupiettes of walleye, scallops, and shrimp on beurre blanc with saffron sauce.

This was followed by an Oriental Thai salad—a medley of spring mixed greens and fresh Oriental vegetables, topped with chow mein noodles, mandarin oranges, and a homemade sesame dressing.

The entrée was potatoes, zucchini, carrots, and Greek chicken—a breast of chicken filled with feta cheese and spinach over a bed of sun-dried tomatoes and black olive coulis.

There also were assorted breads and rolls to go along with the meal, which was followed by not one dessert but a buffet of delicious treats donated by a variety of local restaurants and caterers.

The fundraiser also included penny tables and a live auction, with items ranging from a tool set to an outdoor fireplace to a load of gravel donated by numerous local supporters.

Telford Advent was auctioneer for evening while Brian Hagarty emceed the dinner.

< *c>Other fundraisers

The local branch of the Alzheimer Society also held its annual “Penny for Your Thoughts” weigh-in last Friday and Saturday at Canadian Tire here.

The event brought in 282 pounds of pennies (equalling more than $400), with the most being donated by Betty and Milt Glueheisen and family of Fort Frances.

They turned in 82 pounds of copper in all.

Anyone still wanting to donate pennies to the cause can drop them off at the Super 8 Hotel here up until Jan. 31.

And this past Saturday evening, the Alzheimer Society held a successful roast beef dinner at the Rainy River Legion. This sold-out event raised about $1,500 for the charity, said Schonewille.

Meanwhile, books donations are slowly coming in for the local Alzheimer Society’s second-annual book sale here Feb. 2-4. But more are always welcome for the fundraiser, which will take place at Revco Carpet (950 Fifth St. W.)

Anyone looking to donate books for the sale can drop them off at Revco during regular business hours. Schonewille noted she would prefer if people did not donate encyclopedias.

Schonewille also noted she now has a volunteer this year to pick up books donated by those who can’t get themselves to Revco.

For those who cannot get out of the house to deliver their books themselves, they can call Anna McNay at 274-9268. If she’s not home, leave a message.

The book sale will take place Thursday, Feb. 2 and Friday, Feb. 3 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and again Saturday, Feb. 4 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Schonewille said the public can drop by the store during those hours, fill a bag with books, and then make a donation to the Alzheimer Society.

Last year’s book sale here raised $1,101.73.

Proceeds from the book sale will go towards a special wheelchair for Rainycrest Home for the Aged here. This is designed for Alzheimer patients who have problems with choking when eating or drinking.

This wheelchair costs $5,000.

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