Tag Archives: UrbanSource Catering

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MEET LYNDON WIEBE, EXECUTIVE CHEF OF URBANSOURCE CATERING IN TORONTO

For the past few years, I’ve been blogging about and promoting the talented foodie folks who work at URBANSOURCE CATERING here in Toronto, and have come to admire their executive chef LYNDON WIEBE for not only his super deelish food but also for his outstanding photography snapped during his many adventures abroad. In fact, Lyndon had a solo photographic art show at the adjoining Urban Gallery a couple of years ago (see below).Invitation Image Masai Tribesman Tanzania DSC_1155 20150115_165421(0) 20150115_165433Lyndon’s pictures captured real life in-situ in some of the remotest outposts of humanity, and his engagement and relationships with the local people can clearly be seen in his images. Below, Lyndon poses modestly in front of one of my favourite pictures.20150115_172636I recently asked him about the transition from globe-trotting chef/photographer to executive chef at UrbanSource Catering and he kindly shared his thoughts here:

How long have you been executive chef at UrbanSource Catering?  In March of 2017, I will have been the Executive Chef at Urban Source for five years. With Urban Gallery next door, there are always receptions and corporate soirees to cater on a weekly basis.CAs a celebrity chef from the successful travel/food tv series (Chefs Run Wild, how did you adjust to being a little more “chained to the stove” working in a commercial/catering kitchen with staff to manage?  I think celebrity chef is a bit of a strong word, maybe minor television celebrity chef is more accurate…LOL I am by no means a Chuck Hughes or Anthony Bourdain, but it is flattering nonetheless. We were referred to as “Baby Bourdains” in an article on us in the National Post newspaper, which I thought was funny.CRW.71130027

Lyndon behind the camera, shooting a segment for Chefs Run Wild in S.E. Asia

Lyndon behind the camera, shooting a segment for Chefs Run Wild in S.E. Asia

I lived, traveled and worked overseas for over 7 years and have been working in kitchens since I was sixteen, so coming back to work in Urban’s kitchen was nothing new to me, as I have always been a hands-on chef. Don’t get me wrong, the whole television experience was exciting and exhilarating, but was also exhausting and, at times, filled with anxiety. Would I trade that experience for anything? Absolutely not!  It was incredible and showed me a different side of television which was cool, however, it was fleeting – for me cooking is not fleeting and will always be a big part of my life. So, after my nice seven month break when I moved to Toronto, I was more than happy to take over the reigns in a new kitchen with a new crew at Urban.

You’re also an accomplished photographer and artist – do you continue to undertake camera safaris or have you adapted your photography to include food and presentations?  Yes, I’m still an avid photographer and still go on photo safaris when the time and weather allows. I just got an iPhone and have started using it a lot more as portable camera to take shots on my ride to and from work or when I’m out and about in the city. It comes in handy and the quality of the images has definitely improved with the technology.  As for food photography, it’s not really my thing. I think I just got sick of everybody taking photos and showing the world what they were eating on Instagram every single day. There are tons of beautiful food photographs out there and it makes me want to eat every dish I see, but as a subject matter I prefer streetscapes, nature and people. My girlfriend only recently convinced me to set up an Instagram account (@LyndonWiebe), so I have been using that as a means to show my work. Call me old fashioned, I just fight new technology sometimes even though it is helpful, just for the sake of fighting it. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks etc, although it’s more like this old dog just doesn’t want to learn new tricks. On top of that, I have an online gallery to sell my works and have just recently been asked to join Vida at their request. Vida is a company that lets artists transform their artwork into their own fashion line. I upload my artwork and from there I can choose to put that design onto shirts, pillows, blankets, scarves and many other accessories and create my own fashion line – it’s quite a neat concept. I’m just in the beginning stages of that venture so it will take a while to get it off the ground.  My online portfolio is located here: https://www.direct2artist.com/artists/lyndonwiebe

20150115_165637 20150115_171715As Urban’s chef, you’re responsible for creative exciting menus each season for clients – what has been your most challenging catering project to date?  One of our biggest clients has a standing order for catered meals for their staff four to five days a week. The biggest challenge lies in keeping the menus fresh, creative and in budget without repeating menus if we can help it, or unless they ask for a specific menu again. Doing that for fifty weeks a year can be a challenge as you always have to be thinking about availability of ingredients depending on what season you are in. It is even more of a challenge when they ask for stuff that is not in season, but with imports these days we can get fruits and veggies of all varieties year round. But a strawberry in January in Toronto is not going to taste as good as an Ontario strawberry in the summertime. It’s being able to source an ingredient and make sure you can still deliver the flavours they expect.Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin Crostini with caramelized onionCF233520160531_18421720160531_184035As we move closer to Spring, what food items or dishes are on your radar as trend-setting and that will be added to the seasonal Urban Catering menus?  With Spring comes the shift away from tuber and root vegetable heavy dishes, which I am always excited about. We will start to see rhubarb, fiddle heads, peas, asparagus, radish, spring beets, and in June the strawberry and cherry season begins. We also see fresh cauliflower come June, so hopefully that will bring the price of it down as it is pretty expensive right now.  When it comes to fresh vegetables, I tend to let the foods speak for themselves. Peas and asparagus are given a quick blanch and tossed in a little butter and salt and pepper. Beets can be shaved with fresh radish and thrown in a kale and grain salad. Ramps and fiddle heads I love to put in a light and delicate quiche. Rhubarb can finely sliced and thrown in salads to give them an unexpected crunch and tartness or make a strawberry & rhubarb crumble which is always a favourite. Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables as it has so many applications. Tacos are still huge in the food scene so for vegetarians – we offer spicy cauliflower tacos in place of beef or chicken tacos. Also good for Korean fried cauliflower (which people can’t seem to get enough of) or Buffalo cauliflower “wings”. My favourite dish that I came up with is cauliflower laap, or larb depending where you come from. It’s an adaptation of the traditional pork or chicken dish found in Thailand and Laos. It’s a cooked crumbled meat dish that is served room temperature with fresh shallot, mint, cilantro, fish sauce, lime juice, bird’s eye chilies and toasted ground rice. The flavours are incredible.

During production of Chefs Run Wild, you cooked weird and wonderful ingredients from around the world – what’s your favourite international cuisine to cook and what’s the strangest ingredient you had to use on the show?   It’s hard to say what cuisine is my favourite to cook because in that region of South East Asia, their flavours and ideas are very similar and they all borrow off of each other and add their own twists. Anything from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are my favourite foods to cook and eat, even Laos has amazing food. It’s the balance of flavours that I learned from there when cooking that style of food that is the most important thing. Sweet, sour, spicy, salty and bitter are the five flavours you always have to consider when creating a perfectly balanced dish. If you have all of these flavours in your dish, you have created something special.IMG_3587In terms of weird ingredients, there are many. There is an area in Thailand known as the Issan Province on the border with Laos. It is very agriculturally poor. The land is not suitable for farming and they cannot grow a lot there so the people have lived off whatever the land provides them with. So they eat a lot of bugs and insects for protein wand they employ odd flavor combinations at times. Ant egg salad was a classic recipe we learned. The ant eggs themselves look like yogurt covered raisins, until you put one in your mouth and it pops like a giant pimple in your mouth – let me tell you, the pop is very unsettling…it was like eating a small eyeball! The experience makes me cringe, but for the people of Issan, it’s a normal everyday meal.  IMG_3466Another thing they used over there was pork blood. Now, congealed or cooked pork blood in cubes is quite common over there and you see it everywhere. It is actually quite delicious. But in Issan we made a dish called “pork waterfall”(that was the literal translation) and to top off this dish they had a squeeze bottle of raw pork blood diluted with vinegar which they just poured over top of the dish. Not going to lie, it was not very appetizing at all. We couldn’t even finish it, but we had had to try it, because you don’t know till you try.IMG_3524Any advice for people considering engaging a caterer for their special event, wedding or corporate soiree?  What do they need to consider – budget, type of food, venue, service, etc?  Wwhen you call a caterer, it’s important to have a vision of what you want and it’s also important to have a realistic and flexible budget in mind. I say realistic, because some clients call and want five courses of food with full waiter service, but only have $5 per person in their budget and are unprepared by the real costs of hosting a catering. I also recommend getting a few different quotes so you can compare what’s on offer. It’s no different than buying a car or a house.  Check the UrbanSource Catering website to see a selection of menus that appeal to every taste, every occasion and every budget. www.urbancatering.com

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS IN MAGAZINE’S END-OF-YEAR BASH!

Last Friday (Dec.16/16) friends and sponsors of IN Magazine joined the publishing team for their annual end-of-year bash at URBAN GALLERY located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto (www.urbangallery.ca).

With delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails served by sister company Urban Source Catering, the guests enjoyed a fabulous night celebrating another successful year of publishing for the glossy magazine targeting Toronto’s LGBT community.  www.inmagazine.ca/20161216_180758The current show by local artist Meghan Thomas provided the perfect edgy backdrop for the festivities (below)20161216_174229 20161216_182237Publisher Patricia Salib is pictured above right with guests, as is Dir. of  Marketing Woodrow Monteiro (below, right).20161216_180817 20161216_181614The guests really enjoyed the specialty cocktails, especially the refreshing & highly potent Tipsy Elf (above/below)20161216_183359Charming server Melissa (below) kept everyone well-fed…20161216_181641…while bartender Mischa (pictured below) kept everyone well-lubricated!!20161216_174719The holiday spread was quite spectacular – my favourite is this amazing brie (below) with its crispy, crunchy, sugary crust…mmmm, yum!20161216_17472920161216_18063920161216_18074620161216_174750

Urban Gallery provides the perfect space for smaller corporate events (up to 80 cap.) or private functions so please visit their website for rental details www.urbangallery.ca. Likewise, UrbanSource Catering offers a selection of menus for cocktail parties, gala dinners or buffets or smaller family occasions. For menu selections, visit www.urbancatering.com

Gallery and catering company owners Calvin Hambrook and Wayne Abell (pictured below, L to R) wish all their clients and artists the happiest of holidays.20161216_181141

 

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URBANSOURCE CREATIVE CATERING SPONSORS TORONTO UNITED CHURCH’S HEART & VISION AWARDS CONCERT

Boy, what a busy time UrbanSource Creative Catering is having…last week they catered a number of high profile events and last night, Monday May 9, they kicked off the week by providing the post-concert reception for attendees, VIPs, the entertainers and the esteemed winners of the annual Toronto United Church Council’s Heart & Vision Awards.20160509_220232The 8th annual concert honoured Roberta L. Jamieson, President of Indspire, Canada’s premiere Indigenous-led charity, and the first First Nations woman to earn a law degree in Canada, and Marie Wilson, one of the three commissioners on Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Musical entertainment was provided by: Alana Bridgewater, star of We Will Rock You, Christa Couture, Canadian Aboriginal Music Award winner, Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman, Billy Newton Davis, Juno Award winner, Nukariik, Inuit throat singers, and Jackie Richardson, Gospel, Jazz, and Blues sensation
The evening was hosted by Hon. Bob Rae, lawyer, mediator, speaker, writer, and Ontario’s 21st Premier.
Proceeds from the concert and gifts to the Community Relief Fund support the Council’s partnership programs through which local congregations rebuild and equip their church facilities to enhance community social services.20160509_205741The hors d’oeuvre menu included Angus mini beef burgers, Cajun salmon cakes, Moroccan chicken rouelles (below)20160509_205639Also making an appearance: Urban’s famous Arancini risotto balls filled with luscious gooey buffalo mozzarella cheese and served with roasted chipotle pepper sauce (below)…20160509_211300….as well as Pear and Stilton Tartlets (my new favourite), and a Crostini Duo consisting of roasted grape with burrata, basil and balsamic drizzle, and fresh Bosc pear poached with port and cinnamon, with ricotta and candied walnut both served on toasted honey crostini.20160509_205617 20160509_211318As usual, Urban’s friendly staff (hear, resting up prior to service) kept everyone well fed and watered….20160509_210348…and here’s Sales & Events Coordinator Jean-Marc (below R) with bartender Yaz (below L)20160509_210011Chef Lyndon (below R) kept his kitchen staff hopping…preparing so many plates of treats that they could rival that legendary loaves-and-fishes event…20160509_20570520160509_205852The most popular treats of the night where the mini-burgers….they disappeared quickly off each tray as soon as they came out of the kitchen!20160509_220414And the dainty dessert trays were also a huge hit.20160509_205556 20160509_210259Compliments were freely offered by all attendees who were rarely seen without some yummy treat in their hands (and mouths)! 20160509_215435And the modest understated decor, also provided by Urban, was perfectly suited to the occasion.20160509_211531 20160509_210157Thanks to all involved and if you’d like to learn more about the Toronto United Church Council, please visit them here: www.tucc.ca/

And for all your catering needs…and then some! …..please contact UrbanSource Creative Catering here: www.urbancatering.com/20160509_221735

 

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URBANSOURCE CREATIVE CATERING SPONSORS FOOD & REFRESHMENTS FOR INSIDE OUT 2016 Toronto LGBT Film Festival Launch Party

This past Friday evening, URBANSOURCE CREATIVE CATERING, one of Toronto’s leading catering companies (established 31 years ago) sponsored the sumptuous repast at this year’s INSIDE OUT/LGBT FILM FESTIVAL (May 26-June 5) VIP launch party hosted in the St. James Cathedral Centre.

I arrived just as Urban’s friendly kitchen staff were plating the hors d’oeuvres (below) and prepping the wine bar20160506_172802 20160506_172808 20160506_173226With the help of Urban’s Sales & Business Mgr. Wayne Abell (below, 3rd from L) I was able to wrangle the kitchen staff out front for a special photo opp (below)….20160506_174157(0)…and then enjoyed the fun as guests filled the party room, enjoying the photobooth and great music.20160506_180303(0) 20160506_173949 20160506_180244The delicious hot & cold hors d’oeuvre included pulled pork sliders, Cajun salmon cakes topped with comeback sauce, Arancini risotto balls (or as I like to call them “cheesy balls”) filled with gooey buffalo mozzarella cheese served with roasted chipotle pepper sauce (below, enjoyed by guests)…20160506_180903 20160506_184613….Greek potatoes with feta, olives, pickled onion and tzatziki, garnished with chives…don’t they look pretty? (below)20160506_181037 20160506_181043(0)…and also Moroccan Chicken Rouelles topped with mango salsa, Pissaladière Blanco on herbed Provençale crust  and Spanish Tortilla with roasted peppers, egg, potato and Manchego cheese topped with tomato jam. Yummmm,  guests couldn’t get enough of the tasty treats so the kitchen staff kicked it into high gear….20160506_182652 20160506_182704Even the press photographers were delighted by the food service (below)20160506_180221Wayne enjoyed networking, too – here he is at the photo wall with Inside Out’s Brad and Scott (LtoR)20160506_174825That photobooth was a real party favourite with guests dressing up and acting silly. Here are a few perfect examples of the perfect party guests….20160506_18145620160506_182837 20160506_182959…and of course, I just HAD to get into the act, too. Always the party princess….!20160506_173648_001Apart from all the fun and frivolity, there were the more serious chores of announcing this year’s film line-up, the complete InsideOut festival program and shout-outs to esteemed supporters, sponsors and guests, MC’d by Todd van der Heyden, news anchor with CTV News Channel.20160506_184218 20160506_184222Urban’s service volunteers really enjoyed their jobs, such as Neal (below) who had two lovely ladies flanking him and helping serve the wine.20160506_180453

InsideOut would like to thank….
Food and drinks generously provided by Urban Source Creative Catering, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, and Steam Whistle Brewing. Party Sponsors: Urban Source Creative Catering, Steam Whistle Brewing, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Jack Daniel’s, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire.
With tunes by Blockorama: DJs Craig Dominic, Blackcat and Nik Red; performances by House of Monroe; video projections by Roxanne Luchak, an art installation by Leuwebb and photo booth provided by Monocle Booth.

For information about this year’s film fest screenings and events, visit www.insideout.ca/

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URBANSOURCE CATERING & URBAN GALLERY HOST IN MAGAZINE’S SNEAK PEAK OF THIS YEAR’S TORONTO PRIDE EVENTS

Last night, IN Magazine held their Community Networking event with a sneak peak of Toronto’s Pride 2016 events, sponsored by the TD Bank, in the Urban Gallery space (400 Queen St East) with deelish treats catered by UrbanSource Catering.

Publisher Patricia Salib was joined by Reggie Lanuza (Dir. of Operations), Woodrow Monteiro (Sr A/c Director), Christopher Turner (guest editor for their Lady Gaga issue) and hard-working intern Joel Ducharme as they welcomed guests and sponsor reps for an evening of cocktails, fabulous hors d’oeuvres and networking.  The guests all enjoyed the stunning artwork of Gary Barnett, Urban Gallery’s artist for April, whose show officially opens tomorrow (Sat. Apr. 9).
Here’s publisher Patricia with her husband Boris, and with A/c Director Woodrow (bottom pic)
Patricia and husband Boris PRIDE 2016 Presentation Pride Flag Raising Ceremony Woodrow Monterio and Patricia Salib from IN MAGAZINE
Some of the delectable treats included…..Sriracha prawns with bacon, seafood Kokoda spoons, a gourmet fruit & cheese buffet, Cajun salmon cakes with “comeback” sauce:Sriracha Prawns with bacon Seafood Kokoda Spoons UrbanSource Catering Charcuterie Table Cajun Salmon Cakes with Comeback Sauce
as well as port-poached pears with ricotta and candied walnuts, and  roasted grape & Burrata on torn basil & crostini (yummmm)
Port-poached Pears with ricotta and candide walnuts
Roasted Grape and Buratta with torn basil on crostini
Congrats to the Urban Catering and Gallery team (below) who made the night such a success for the folks of IN Magazine, and be sure to visit each website (see below).
Calvin, Wayne and the URBAN SOURCE CATERING Crew
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THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW ….AND THE STARS CAME OUT LAST NIGHT

Last night, FIFE HOUSE presented their annual “Spotlight” concert and fundraising gala (produced by Michael Rubinoff) at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto and their guests of honour were the incomparable ANDREA McCARDLE (Broadway’s original Annie) with the equally amazing musical genius SETH RUDETSKY. They chatted about Andrea’s incredible career in musical theatre and Seth accompanied her on piano as she belted out hit after hit. Wow!

My friends at URBANSOURCE CATERING presented platters of the most delicious, scrumptious hors d’oeuvres throughout the pre-concert reception, ferried by an army of friendly servers who kept the goodies coming!20151127_181249 20151127_180149 20151127_180308Calvin Hambrook, Urban’s Catering & Events Manager, ensured everything went smoothly and he enjoyed schmoozing with the guests, many of whom are long-time clients of Urban. Below, here’s Calvin (l) with Fife Hosue’s Dir. of Development & Communications David Currah (r).20151127_175301 Apart from the amazing concert, there was also a fabulous silent auction featuring tons of donated prizes including a framed photo (titled “Quietude” 20” x 30” photoprint on Dibond) by Urban Gallery’s own Kaspara Albertsen, perfect for the festive season….here’s just a few of them:QUIETUDE by Kaspara Albertsen20151127_173004 20151127_172938 20151127_173426

20151127_175717Even some of Urban Gallery‘s artists donated paintings to the auction including Joan Andal Romano whose show opens next weekend. Below – “Life is Art” (from her Alice Series) 18” x 24” mixed media on canvas20151127_173347…and Nancy Jane Price (below), whose work was on show this past September at Urban Gallery (her donated painting is titled “Together 24” X 24” Acrylic on canvas)20151127_181625Also featured were paintings courtesy of  previous Urban exhibitors Janna Kroupko and Brenda Clews (pictured below with Calvin) – her donated artwork was titled “A Spring God” 24″ x 30″ oil on canvas (lower pic)20151127_195111
A SPRING GOD by Brenda ClewsIt was truly a great turnout for this event benefiting Fife House which provides secure, supportive, affordable housing to people living with HIV/AIDS in the Greater Toronto Area.HHH_Logo___website

http://www.fifehouse.org/

Here are a few more gala pics – see if you can spot anyone you know in the crowd…20151127_191750 20151127_191833…and more of the great Urban staff …20151127_191720 20151127_191625Check out the UrbanSource Catering website for catering ideas for your own swanky soiree: www.urbancatering.com

Thank you to everyone involved for making the FIFE HOUSE “SPOTLIGHT” CONCERT & FUNDRAISING GALA such a success.20151127_213739 20151127_213738

 

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS OFFICIAL LAUNCH FOR “DON’T BE AFRAID OF COLOUR” BY NANCY-JANE PRICE

Tonight marked the official launch for local artist NANCY-JANE PRICE‘s latest painting series “Don’t Be Afraid of Colour” at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto  www.urbangallery.ca

20150910_17535620150910_18313820150910_183135Nancy-Jane’s first passionate encounter with colour occurred while she was still in kindergarten. She was to fill in a single pane of a stained glass window design on a piece of brown paper. She chose the most beautiful shade of magenta her young eyes had ever seen, carefully filling in the space. But when the teacher noticed that Nancy-Jane hadn’t started at the bottom, she was summarily removed from painting duties. That memory runs deep. She continued her love affair with colour in public school and colour has stayed with her ever since, mostly through dress and home decoration.  Five years ago, after various art classes focused on traditional drawing and painting, she decided to “loosen up” her style, and signed up for an ongoing studio class where she concentrates on non-objective painting in acrylics with an emphasis on intuitive sense of colour. IMG_4402IMG_442720150910_183116Artist statement:  Colour, space, juxtaposition, design; the mystery in the way it works, the joy of being alive…

Here’s Nancy-Jane (below left) with KJ Mullins, Publisher of www.Newz4U.net20150910_175434And here’s artist Linda Langerak (below left) with Wayne Abell of UrbanSource Catering, and KJ Mullins20150910_180646

Visit www.Facebook.com/UrbanGallery to take a virtual walk thru the gallery (video)

DON’T BE AFRAID OF COLOUR

Paintings by Nancy-Jane Price.  Show runs until Sat. September 26, 2015UG-Letterhead-BC

 

 

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URBANSOURCE CATERING/URBAN GALLERY HOSTS TOURISM TORONTO MEMBERS!

As the song says…”oh what a night”! We had an absolute blast last night at Urban Gallery (400 Queen St East, Toronto) when UrbanSource Catering hosted a special members’ social for Tourism Toronto event planners and corporate buyers.  Thanks to the hard work of TT’s Christopher Barry and Denise Belgrove, Urban had a full house despite the rain soaked tornado-like weather conditions (no flying monkeys or witches were harmed during the making of this event!).

20150610_153809 20150610_153801Before the guests arrived, the bar was set-up with wines from Pelee Island wineries (above), and Chef Lyndon laid out the sumptuous charcuterie table, complete with condiments courtesy of Whisky & Spice (booze-infused premium mustards made locally by Dan Gordon) – below.

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20150610_154929Urban Gallery’s current art show featuring Khat Karim‘s colourful paintings, looked awesome (below)

20150610_153852And the team gathered for a quick pic prior to the doors opening (below: Urban’s Kaspara, Calvin, and Wayne with Christopher from TT in white shirt sleeves)

20150610_154909Let the games being! Toronto’s best event planners and buyers poured in and what a fantastic group of industry professionals they were. Everyone was eager to taste UrbanSource Catering’s menu and view the gallery space for potential events, meetings, parties and social gatherings….and the concensus was a big thumbs-up!

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20150610_164953 20150610_174434(0) 20150610_175307We had a couple of prize draws and Urban partner Calvin got busy gathering everyone’s biz cards (below)

20150610_175010One of our fun interactive activities was an art board where guests were asked to draw their company logo and take selfies for social media sharing. Below, here are some of the guests having fun with the marker pens creating their own masterpieces!

20150610_175931 20150610_175123 20150610_175924 20150610_190625Below, Kaspara was finally able to lure Chef Lyndon out from the kitchen to enjoy the accolades and kudos for his yummy hors d’oeuvres….

20150610_183247…..and the team got together one more time to celebrate a fun and successful soiree, this time joined by Urban’s catering & events consultant Jean-Marc (below, far right)

20150610_154958Apart from showcasing the venue and catering to Tourism Toronto members, the party also marked the 30th business anniversary for UrbanSource Catering so bravo to partners Calvin Hambrook and Wayne Abell for weathering 3 decades of storms, recessions, ever-changing food trends and some of the strangest client requests (and that’s a whole other blog story!!).

20150610_153816If you’d like to learn more about the superb menus offered by UrbanSource Catering for corporate or private events, weddings, galas, fundraisers, etc., or the Urban Gallery space for rentals, please check out their weblinks below, as well as visiting the official Tourism Toronto website:

http://www.urbancatering.com/

http://www.urbangallery.ca/

http://www.seetorontonow.com/

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HEART & VISION AWARDS HONOUR LT.GEN’L ROMÉO DALLAIRE & DR. MARY JO LEDDY

This past Monday evening, the Toronto United Church Council honoured 2 of the world’s leading humanitarian activists, Lt. General Roméo Dallaire and Dr. Mary Jo Leddy, for their dedication to human rights by presenting them with Heart & Vision Awards.

Several hundred guests lined the pews of the Metropolitan United Church on Queen East (below)….

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????….as the evening’s MC, tv & radio personality Michael Williams (below) introduced the presenters and guest performers.

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????The world renowned Elmer Iseler Singers started off the concert with a beautiful rendition of  The Mi’Kmaq Song..

???????????????????????????????Rev. John Joseph Mastandrea (below) took the stage to open the proceedings….

???????????????????????????????and welcomed the two honourees (below)

???????????????????????????????VP of TUCC, Susan Smith  (below) was welcomed to the stage to talk about the evening and the honourees…

???????????????????????????????Susan also paid tribute to Vincent Alfano, the late Executive Director of TUCC (below) before introducing…

DSC00654….Alexa Gilmour (below) who spoke on the life and work of honouree, Dr. Mary Jo Leddy

???????????????????????????????…who was then joined at the podium by Michael Kooiman (below), minister of Central United Church in Weston for the presentation.

???????????????????????????????Dr. Mary Jo Leddy received her Heart & Vision Award, created by Canadian stained glass artist Dianne MacLeod, then spoke at great length about her work with refugees.

??????????????????????????????? DSC00743The Elmer Iseler Singers took the stage again, and Thom Allison performed a moving song prior to the next honoree

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???????????????????????????????Reverend Ron Ewart (below) then introduced the second Heart & Vision Award recipient, Lt. General Roméo Dallaire

???????????????????????????????…who was presented with the award by Susan Smith (below)

DSC00801 ???????????????????????????????…and he kept the crowd spellbound with his tales of war and survival.

???????????????????????????????After thanks were given to all the guests, event sponsors and performers, The Elmer Iseler Singers sang Psalm 148 then were joined by Thom Allison and opera star Jennie Such to end the concert with Make our Garden Grow.

DSC00878A wonderful post-concert reception was held in the church basement where UrbanSource Catering presented delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine.

??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? 20150511_215649While guests were enjoying all the tasty treats, General Dallaire was interviewed by SiriusXM Radio’s Kate Wheeler (below) in the church library for her show What She Said (with fellow former TV network news anchor Christine Bentley). UrbanSource Catering made sure they were well looked after with wine and a tray of food!

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????Here Kate’s interview with General Dallaire here: https://soundcloud.com/whatshesaid167/lieutenant-general-romeo-dallaire-joins-kate-wheeler

Ticket sales from the concert benefited the Community Relief Fund – you can find out more about the Toronto United Church Council’s work by visiting their website: http://tucc.ca/

If you would like more info on Toronto’s premier corporate and event caterers, Urban Source Catering, please visit their website: http://www.urbancatering.com/

Big thank you to my talented photographer, H.T. Jade Yeh, who shot most of the pics featured here. Please enjoy more photos from the event, including the great team of volunteers who worked hard to present a fabulous evening, the video and sound production team, Music Director Jason Jestadt and of course, I grabbed a few photos with some of the celebs attending (below). Here’s singer/songwriter Micah Barnes with snapd newspaper reporter Britney Townsend, then me with internationally renowned Canadian flutist Ron Korb.

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20150511_192216Thank you to everyone who contributed….

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