With the first sip of Welch’s grape juice, I was instantly transported — as promised — back to the days of skinned knees, PB &J sandwiches, and licking batter off of cake beaters. It was a great, nostalgic start to the first-ever Clam Jam, a collaborative dinner party prepared by a feisty crew of female chefs who came together for a fundraiser designed to riff on the theme of childhood. It was held at Union Local 613 and the proceeds from the dinner and silent auction were in support of Harmony House.
Before each of the seven courses was served, the chef that created it stood in the centre of the room and spoke in front of about 40 eager guests about the inspiration behind their dish. It was a lovely reminder of just how powerful and personal taste memories can be.
When the fried ravioli stuffed with spaghetti and tiny meatballs circulated as canapés, I was concerned that this meal might digress into a mash-up of cutesy and kitschy courses. Instead we were treated to a parade of thoughtful dishes, each with a corresponding tale from young women who demonstrated an early appreciation for the pleasures of cooking. The audience got to peek back in time to see the kernel of passion that presumably led each chef to their professional kitchen careers. Fascinating stuff.