The EAC’s perfect plates | Food | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

The EAC’s perfect plates

The Ecology Action Centre’s annual Perfect World dinner brings together five chefs for a sustainable fundraiser feast.

It's going to be a Perfect World on Sunday. No, Kevin Costner hasn't escaped from prison. On Sunday, the Ecology Action Centre is hosting its signature annual fundraiser.

"As environmentalists, we are idealists," says Joanna Bull, the EAC's volunteer and events coordinator. "We're trying to make the world better; we're trying to create a more perfect version of this world that we live in, so this is a night to celebrate that work and to celebrate that vision that we share for the future for the work that we're doing for the environment and for our communities."

The EAC is Atlantic Canada's largest environmental organization. For 45 years, it's been working to develop sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions for the region through the support of initiatives like recycling programs, energy efficiency, transit access and walk-to-school programs, land conservation, marine protection and gardening programs.

"It's not your average fundraising dinner," says Bull. "It's a really beautiful, magical evening. It's at the Wooden Monkey restaurant in Dartmouth. We have five different chefs that will be there on location to serve small plates and appetizers. And people can mingle and chat with the chefs."

The five chefs this year are Diandra Phipps (enVie), Jason Lynch (Le Caveau, Wolfville), Graham Ruppel (Stillwell), Mark Grey (Battery Park) and Dennis Johnston (Dragon). "It's really creative, interesting food with local, sustainable ingredients," Bull says.

Unlike many food-focused events, the EAC's commitment to sustainability means they are ensuring an inclusive event where there are options for everybody. "EnVie is going to be there, so they have the vegan thing on lock and they do a great job," says Bull. "With the EAC, those values are really close to our heart and we try to walk the talk in everything we do."

The event will also feature an oyster bar, and, hopefully, diver-caught scallops. This summer, a commercial diver-caught scallop fishery recently approved by the federal Fisheries and Oceans Department finally launched. The initiative, that the EAC consulted on, permits two-and-a-half tonnes of hand-picked scallops to be harvested by the end of September. "Fingers crossed," says Bull. "Fish supply chains can be an interesting game, but we're hoping to feature them, so that's exciting!"

Bull is proud of the EAC's long-time support of local producers and sustainable practices in farming and fishing. "Food is a great way to make any celebration awesome, especially when the food itself is awesome," she says. "And all of the chefs have really been gung-ho to bring their creativity to making this. Local food doesn't always have to be potatoes or turnips; there's lots of amazing stuff that people can do and that creativity comes through here. There are so many wonderful chefs in the community here that take those values to heart."

The night also includes live music, live art and a silent auction. This year, Holly Carr will light up the space with backlit silk paintings that are created live on location. And then there is a surprise musical guest. "The first year we had David Myles and last year we had Joel Plaskett. And this year—I can't tell you, but it's going to be awesome."

"We've had wonderful guesses online," she continues. "Everyone from Beyoncé to Bono and in between. It's hilarious, we encourage it," she laughs. "But it's not Beyoncé."

Perfect World takes place at 7pm at the Wooden Monkey. Tickets are $100, with all proceeds going to the Ecology Action Centre. And, for what it's worth, Kevin Costner has never actually been to prison.

Perfect World
Sun, Sep 18, 7-10pm
The Wooden Monkey, 40 Alderney Drive

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