By Lory Diaz
Youth Without Shelter had their Cover Me Urban party presented by Tangerine on April 5, 2017 at Maison Mercer, located at 15 Mercer Street in downtown Toronto. This year’s fundraiser generated over $119,000 to support emergency shelter and skill-development programs for youth ages 16-24. Guests were invited to live music, a fashion show, and an endless supply of delicious treats all evening!
The Maison Mercer space was transformed into neighbourhoods from around Toronto with various activities. Guests could visit areas like Chinatown, St. Clair West, Centre Island, and Little India, each with a signature dish and fun activity. Centre Island seemed like the place to be though as guests were invited to shoot some hoops and enjoy a little skee ball!
I started by visiting the group of young chefs from the Thistletown Collegiate Institute Culinary Program who were cooking up mac & cheese bacon balls. Their three cheese blend left the inside creamy, while the beer-battered exterior had a light crunch that reminded me of my favourite carnival food. Some of the students in the culinary program are residents of Youth Without Shelter, so the school provides programming that reinforces the skills developed at the shelter.
The Fonda Lola team was in attendance serving up some cochinita pibil tacos (a traditional slow-roasted pork dish from Mexico) with a shot of ceviche made with basa fish marinated in lime juice, cilantro, red onion, celery, cucumber, and a hint of ginger. This was a nice shot of citrus to cut through some of the heavier dishes, and a great way to cleanse the palate.
Major activity was taking place in Little India’s corner as the Chaska team delivered kathi rolls (flatbread with choice of paneer or chicken tikka) and bhel chaat: puffed rice, tomato, potato, and onion tossed in a sweet, sour, and spicy chutney.
Little India also featured henna by Dimple Shah! The artists were creating beautiful free-hand designs with the greatest of ease and finishing each with a dusting of glitter. I’ve never seen the addition of glitter before, and think it’s a fantastic idea to add an eye-catching detail while waiting for the henna to dry and set.
Guests were invited to support YWS by buying raffle tickets for items like Beats by Dre headphones, or bidding in the silent auction. Items included a variety of kitchenware and small appliances, nights out, spa packages, tickets to various sporting events, original artwork, and much more!
Chinatown hosted the Crowne Plaza team, as they prepared Thai-style red chicken curry, stir-fried egg rice, and mango and bean sprout salad.
The Big House Pizza team shrunk down their Sir John A. MacDonald pizza (think of a Big Mac translated into pizza terms) into mini skewers for the Cover Me Urban party! If you’re not familiar with this peculiar dish, it consists of mini all beef patties, cheese, pickles, onions, mini sesame seed bun balls, shredded lettuce, then drizzled with the signature special sauce. They also brought along a John Candied Ham and Cookout Chicken skewers for some fun bites!
My last stop was at the More Than Pies table to decide between their red velvet cupcake, strawberry tart, or glazed brownies. I went for the strawberry tart, and enjoyed a delightful taste that reminded me of homemade pies.
It’s important to support groups that have a positive impact on Toronto, like Youth Without Shelter, that are working towards empowering youth who may feel limited in their options due to circumstances beyond their control. Helping these organizations out doesn’t have to just be financially by attending fundraisers, it can also be through volunteer work, or raising awareness of the issue through open discussion. I would encourage everyone to figure out what they feel strongly about and get behind that cause!
The Big Mac Skewer is one of the coolest recipes I’ve ever seen! Mac & cheese bacon balls and skee ball would both make me quite happy.
And of course – cupcakes.
I’m so glad this awesome event raised so much money!
What a great event and look at all the delicious food! I can’t believe it! Some of the dishes look like something served only at top fine dining restaurants. Your stomach must have been super happy that night!
This is such an amazing looking event for such a fabulous cause. This food all looks delicious too! Love the idea of the Mac & Cheese Bacon balls.
That looks like you guys had so much fun and for a great cause. The food looks simply delicious. Some of the food looks almost too beautiful to eat lol.
This sounds like a really nice event to visit. The food looks delicious and I love the henna artwork, wish we had something like that where me and the kids could attend! In the words of Homer Simpson…cupcakes ..mmmm..lol!
What a fantastic event…and for such a good cause. I’m starving now, after looking at all that yummy food. My youngest son would go absolutely gaga for the Mac & Cheese Balls. Cheese, pasta and bacon…who wouldn’t love that!
What a new event. And I agree get behind what you believe in and help. Those cupcakes look super good. A lot of those foods look exoctic but good.
What an amazing event .. all for a good cause! All of the food looks wonderful .. and I’d go if only to be able to have lunch. I’d be going for the Thai chicken curry .. saving enough room for a red velvet cupcake!
I just love the talent in that room. In my area we have an organization called the Cacoon House for teens that also does amazing things
The Cover Me Urban party looks like it was a wonderful event. The food itself looks so incredible. Youth Without Shelter seems to be a wonderful organization doing amazing things. I’m so glad that you got the opportunity to get involved! Thank you for helping the kids both by participating in the event and spreading the word about the cause!
All of the food looks amazing, especially those cupcakes. I would have loved to check out the Cover me Urban party.
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