Our neighbours on our block have been getting together for over twenty-five years. We have always used a similar format that works really well for us. We set up barbecues on someone’s front lawn as well as a few tables. Then whoever wants to come brings their own food to barbecue as well as something to share with the group. They also bring their own drinks, chairs, utensils and dishes, so it doesn’t matter how many people show up. We can always welcome them. We typically get about 25 neighbours showing up.
During Covid, we scaled back, so this was our first time in a few years to have an actual barbecue together, and this time, we had the neighbourhood grant! We had learned that a new neighbour was a chef, and he said he’d be willing to barbecue for us. What a find. He wasn’t just any neighbourhood chef! Chef Alex won the gold medal at the 2018 Canadian Culinary Championships, and he became the first challenger to beat an Iron Chef in the inaugural season of The Food Network Canada’s Iron Chef Canada TV series. He is currently the executive chef at The Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar, as well as the Wild Blue at Whistler.
With Chef Alex as a huge draw, everyone who could come showed up. This was a holiday weekend, so several families were disappointed to miss the party, but we still had over 50 neighbours getting together. We welcomed new neighbours (young and old), and if anyone had a problem speaking English, we could find people to help them out. We represented seven countries, and we all had a great time eating delicious food that people brought representing their home countries, as well as Chef Alex’s incredible offerings of garlic prawns, slow-cooked bone-in beef short ribs with sweet soy glaze and porcini essence, charcoal grill spatchcock chicken with lemon, thyme, rosemary, oregano and crispy pork belly with crackling! To say we had a feast would be an understatement!
This was a great time to spend together, and several neighbours commented that they hoped we could get together more than once a year. In fact, one family changed their reservations for a flight overseas so that they could attend our party!
Thank you to Neighbourhood Grants for providing us with the funds to make this all possible!