Last week I attended a dinner #WithAeroplan, whereby Aeroplan’s Diamond Status members were shown appreciation with an invite-only, exclusive access, four-course dinner in an unparalleled setting at Toronto’s Evergreen Brickworks.
(Thank you again for having me, Aeroplan!)
The evening featured passed hors-d’oeuvres, an open bar, long wedding-style harvest tables, and intimate vibes. String lights suspended above and an atmosphere conducive to great conversation. What more could one ask for?
Aeroplan really helps bring people together to share meaningful moments, and what better way than over good food?
Oh, and did I mention the entire menu was plant-based? Prepared by two very talented vegan chefs; Chad Sarno and David Lee.
While the main purpose of the dinner was to reward Diamond Status Aeroplan Members, a subject of focus was the connection between food and travel, and the sustainability of our planet through plant-based diets. Hence, the fully vegan menu this evening.
And while not all guests were vegan, (I’m estimating a small percentage), what better group to advocate for this given their frequent flyer lifestyles?
“How many of us travel for food?”
“How many of us consider food an integral part of our travels?”
These were just some of the conversation openers that evening. I reflected on both questions, and can honestly say that I personally do travel for food, as well as consider it an integral part of my trips.
Often times, soon after I’ve booked my flights, the very next thing I do is map out all of the vegan (and Instagram-worthy) restaurants and cafes. The trip is built around these locations.
I know I’m not the only one who does this! (right?!)
The point here is that it’s become clear to many of us that food is in fact an integral part to our travels.
I remember being on my honeymoon a few years ago on the Amalfi Coast and visiting a restaurant (three times) that was built into the mountains of Positano. Right on the cliff, off of a winding road, and overlooking the water. It was amazing, and throughout our travels, my heartmate and I would update our family back home with each new stop we made and any wow-factor places we visited. This was one of them! I would send pictures of the pasta I’d ordered to my mom because I knew she’d have an appreciation for it given her Italian roots. All this to say, the restaurant became more than just a stop for food. It had become a lasting memory for us.
If you follow my instagram page @inspiredbynick, it would come as no surprise that I have a love for food. From preparing to eating, to styling, nourishing, photographing, and of course sharing my meals, I’m grateful that my passion has become the fuel for my life.
With that said, whether you’re a professional food photographer, restaurant reviewer, or simply a vacationer sharing pictures with your family back home, food has become an experience that we love to open up to our circles of family and friends.
As the evening progressed, the conversation shifted to the topic of sustainability, specifically that of our planet through food choices. A topic in which I consider myself well-versed.
As a full time wellness blogger who happens to be vegan, my goal is never to convert anyone or preach, but rather to share inspiration.
I firmly believe that when it comes to the sustainability of our planet, a decision we can all make that will have a long lasting and widespread effect on the health of our planet is changing our diets. Specifically, shifting to more plant-based options, and putting a halt to supporting factory farming. Our dollars and purchasing power travel further than the checkout counter at grocery store.
And unfortunately, the facts are in fact, fact;
- Globally, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined. It is a leading source of carbon-dioxide, nitrous-oxide, and methane emissions, the top three greenhouse gasses.*
- The University of Chicago found that going vegan is more effective in fighting climate change than switching from a standard car to a hybrid.*
- It takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat vs only 25 gallons to produce 1 pound of wheat. And raising animals for food takes up half of all water used in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency says that animal agriculture is the number one cause of water pollution.*
With all of that said, shifting to a lighter and related note, the all-vegan menu featured at Aeroplan’s appreciation dinner was sublime. It was well-curated, innovative, mostly locally sourced, and truly a fine dining experience.
The menu curated by Chef Chad Sarno and David Lee included a fine wine pairing with each of the following courses:
F I R S T C O U R S E
Cookstown Greens Hubbard Squash, White Kimchi, Pears,
Pumpkin Pesto & Chicharron.
Tawse Quarry Road Pinot Noir 2015
S E C O N D C O U R S E
Corn Dumplings, Coconut Corn Broth,
Chiles & Herbs
Hidden Bench Tete de Cuvee Chardonnay 2014
T H I R D C O U R S E
Charred Hoisin Maitake, Sesame Rice Cake,
Pickled Cauliflower, Brussel Leaves & Mint
Charles Baker Picone Riesling 2014
F O U R T H C O U R S E
Niagara Peninsula Apple Pie, Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream,
Candied Corn Nuts & Quebec Maple Syrup
This dinner helped realize a fine dining vegan experience, without sacrifice, for members who can advocate for sustainability through individual food choices and travel. It helped prove that food quality, flavour, and sustenance aren’t always neglected when opting for plant-based options.
In being mindful about our purchasing power and in favouring choices that promote sustainability, collectively we can achieve more positive and lasting effects on our planet. Thank you, Aeroplan, for bringing people together and leading the conversation on topics through which we can all affect change.
Nick Joly | Inspired by Nick
be good to your body
* facts via peta.org – linking meat and climate change