We ended up calling our project “Recipes and Stories Community Chefs Circle in the Park: Neighbours and Neighbourhood Foods for Covid Times”.
Instead of doing a Zoom-based community chef cooking show as we originally planned, we decided instead to meet social-distanced outside in the park. People’s necks, backs and eyes were in pain from too much Zooming and screen time, and BC’s wonderful Bonnie Henry was allowing socially-distanced small outdoor meetings at the time. So we decided to cook family foods at home, share people’s videotapes, stories and recipes, and meet in small groups in the park (socially-distanced, hand-sanitized, following Covid protocols) to share samples of the food people had prepared.
Food ingredients were grown by us, or bought – again, in Covid-safe ways – from Farmers’ Markets, small, neighbourhood, and BC vendors and farmers. We wanted local, sustainably grown food purchased from Vancouver West Side or other BC people who could tell us the story of the food and themselves.
In preparing food, sharing recipes and sampling food, we had at different times West Side people (community chefs) with family and food roots from Canada, Chile, China, New Zealand, Germany, Thailand, Italy, Holland, Japan, U.S. and Scotland, and lots of delicious food and stories to share together. We collected all our recipes and stories together in a book and shared this with everyone.
In the end, this community project was wonderfully successful at lifting our moods, bringing us together separately, and sharing our families, cultures, stories and foods.