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dish’ED at Docker’s Diner

For our guests, dish’ED is fine dining in an unexpected location.  For me, dish’ED is creative momentum with an incredible team.  It’s also months of planning that culminates in an 18-hour day — an 18-hour day I’d never miss.

Creatributor(TM) Graham MacLennan in Action at dish’ED

I love to cook.  It’s my favourite counterpoint to practising law.  Over the past three years, I’ve cooked a little more seriously, and –  happily, luckily – I’ve become friends with some of  Vancouver’s very talented professional chefs.  In a freeflow at imagine1day a little over a year ago, the group wondered what could happen if we inspired volunteers to decorate and cook and host and serve, if we put amateur cooks together with professional chefs, if we secured donations from local food and wine suppliers, and if we found a quirky venue to host the whole thing.  We’d found dish’ED.


That first year, the Gourmet Warehouse donated their excellent all-in-one kitchen/dining space, and we put on four seated courses, plus canapes and a cheese course.  I worked on the menu with Jen Bentall, a very talented amateur pastry chef who went on to study at the Cordon Bleu in Paris.  Watching over Jen and me was Andrea Carlson, a friend and the Executive Chef of Bishop’s restaurant.  Andrea took an entire Saturday afternoon and evening to do prep and service with us.  She simultaneously improved our menu and lowered my stress levels, considerably.  That first night at the Gourmet Warehouse was jammed, loud, energetic and incredibly fun.  We had to do it again.

This year, I wondered if the fantastic Dockers Diner might lend us their space.  After all, they don’t serve dinner, and they close every day at 3:00.  Success.  Dockers was with us from the get-go.  Again we had excellent support from local food and wine suppliers, and our team built an “haute diner” menu, items with diner descriptions and fine dining preparations.  Lauren Lobley, another super-talented pastry chef, took care of our dessert and brought us a passionate team of culinary students from the Art Institute.  Andrea’s Sous Chef at Bishop’s, Jacob Deacon-Evans, helmed the kitchen and created what must be the best diner food Vancouver has ever seen.  With snow falling outside and candles glowing inside, Dockers was the perfect cozy venue for our one-night-only fine diner experience.

Creatributor(TM) Lauren Lobley and Graham’s dish’ED partner in crime

Now we want dish’ED to spread.  Already, Creatributors have put on dish’ED Calgary, and there’s serious talk of dish’ED Los Angeles (Lauren!) and dish’ED Paris (Jen!).   We’re into the planning for the next dish’ED here in Vancouver too.  My goal is to create more and more buzz around the event, so that more and more people want to see for themselves what this fine-dining-in-unexpected places is all about.  Each time we bring someone new to the experience, we build our group of dish’ED supporters and, more importantly, we spread the word about the incredible work imagine1day does in Ethiopia.

Stay tuned for details on the next dish’ED, and if you have an idea for a quirky dish’ED venue or if you want to talk about joining our team, get in touch!  Until next time.

Graham MacLennan

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Learn more about imagine1day at: http://www.imagine1day.org

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One Response to “dish’ED at Docker’s Diner”

  1. Angela Sali says:

    Loved every minute! I can’t wait to see what you cook up for next year’s Dish’ED! Thanks for a memorable night.

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