The Low Down and Dirty – Chef Survival Challenge 2013

It was my first Chef Survival Challenge.  It was a hot day of watching Chefs alongside Firefighters get sweaty and dirty and labour and fight and cook for farmland conservation.

Let me set the stage with four time Juno award winner Lester Quitzau who played amazing guitar.  Riffs and moods and skills.  Big up respect.  Wow.

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Adam Olsen, of the Tsartlip First Nation and interim leader of the BC Greens gave a welcome and blessing honouring the land.  He spoke eloquently about the importance of local farms.

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Lovely Lola and Corey Francis sang a couple of songs in Lola’s stage debut. DSC_0516

Proud mamma Nathalie below.DSC_0520Then the Chefs and Fire-fighters were presented as contestants. In past years it was just chefs but this year the brawn was supplemented.  Plus the local fire-fighters were honoured for…being heroes. In the photo below Madrona Farm’s Nathalie and Dave Chambers point out the obstacles to be overcome in the photo below.  Nathalie and Dave are also heroes.  They got 3000 people chip in and they donated their family farm to a land trust.  How many folks do you know do that?  They wanted their farm to be preserved forever and given to the community after their turn.  Nathalie and Dave show how it can be done on Madrona Farm.  It’s Nathalie’s dream for all farmland to be owned by the community.  The Chef Survival Challenge is about raising funds for communities to purchase farmland (Big Dream Farm-fund) and farm it sustainably.  No GMOs or pesticides, herbicide toxins.  Farmland to be preserved in perpetuity for the community via land trusts.

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The Chefs and Firefighters started the obstacle course with the sack race…DSC_0530

They soon got muddied in the mud pit….

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And then had to crawl under nigh-impossible obstacles while being hosed by malicious gremlins.  (Children).

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Look at the metal pipes.  They are heavy.  Look at them being displaced.

Now look at the lower left corner.  Are you squirming?DSC_0545

From down low and dirty to up high and mighty.

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After the chefs were exhausted, tired, and cotto (means cooked in Italian)… they had to cook up a storm.  The firefighters proving their might, stood around and looked strong.  There was a live auction which raised $100 for an individual to be carried by a firefighter across the mud hole.  Sadly I didn’t get a picture of that but suffice it to say that it was hot.  Okay.  The firefighter took off his shirt.  And he was ripped.  Did I mention that it was hot?

I sang Grandpa Rupert’s Song “This Earth is Ours” along with pianist Lisa Olive.  Lisa is an amazing talent, a little technically challenged with a non-fully functioning  half-length keyboard.  Despite said technical difficulties and false starts when Colin the sound guy ran up to the stage waving for us to stop and support from Lester Quitzau himself, Lisa played with the flair of Chopin.

The victuals were beautifully, locally sourced.  The CRD was there with their water truck eliminating the need for single-use plastic bottles (KUDOS).  Here is the line up for the food.  Well worth the wait. Lots of vegetarian and vegan food I’m pleased to report.

Dessert: berry crumble!DSC_0556

Below, pianist Lisa Olive and I display our GMO OMG tees (organic cotton). But of course! What else would you want to wear to an event honouring the food that comes from the Earth (actually it was so hot that I wanted to go au naturel and bask like a pig in that mud hole)

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I met Kelsey from Innotech Nutrition with his ‘bro’.  Out from from Winnipeg for a few days, he came to Chef Survival Challenge coz he heard that this was the best partay happening in Victoria.  Dude got that right!

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Andrew Weaver spoke below, introduced by Lester Quitzau (sorry for quality of the photo). Andrew mentioned how his kids got him a playmobil farm set since he loves farms that much.  We love that he loves farms.  Hmmm.  I wonder if he has a Green thumb?

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Chefs cook-cook-cooking away on camping gear.  Don’t let that fool you for a minute!

This was big-up gourmet: Note the care with which the marshmallow was roasted.

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This Chef below was a speedy gonzales, beating the fire fighters in the obstacle course and doing cirque du soliel moves on the zipline.  He won for best costume (Note to self, get him for Style-Diet Shot).  (Anyone please tell me the chefs’ names so I can credit them?)DSC_0580

The chefs auctioned off gourmet meals to the highest bidders.

Sadly I couldn’t stay longer.  As I left the burlap sacks in the dust, the music on hiatus, happy community bonding underway with an auction frenzy…. I noted that the mud hole was being well-utilized.

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 Every adult was holding the leash tight on their inner child.

Fighting the urge to get really super dirty.

(Did I mention that it was hot?)

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