Welfare Food Challenge by Raise the Rates

24 10 2012

I was at the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood house today to listen to participants of the Welfare Food Challenge by Raise The Rates.  AHA media was there and you can watch some of their video coverage of people from different backgrounds and areas of expertise describe their experience of eating for a week on the $26.oo a person on assistance would be allowed.  The range of distressing effects that living on such a small budget, even for a week, had on people underlines what people who live on it indefinitely must suffer. The first link below is the beginning of the challenge and introduces the participants. The second link is coverage by AHA media at the end of the week of the participants discussing their experience.






TinPan Chef Competition 2012

23 10 2012

As part of the Heart of the City Festival, I am organizing a TinPan Chef cooking competition for October 29th at Carnegie Centre Theatre.    There are 3 non-profit organizations with kitchen programs who are competing.  They are Carnegie Centre, The Lookout Emergency Aid Society and VANDU.  Each team has a chef and an assistant, 2 hotplates, and an hour.  The food bank has supplied the sealed mystery boxes to be opened when the competition starts.  The judges are people who live in the DTES. This event will be MCd by comedian Erin Graham.   If you are in Vancouver and interested in checking it out,  come to the Carnegie Centre Theatre (401 Main Street).  It starts at 12:30 and there will be door prizes, snacks, coffee and other interesting stuff going on.  Stay posted!

link to my new website

23 10 2012

Hi everyone,

I have been having some trouble uploading all the information I want to onto  this site.  I have transferred most of the information from this site to http://onepot.ca .   The new site is a  different format and allows me to have forums (I am still trying to make them more user friendly) and online quizzes. It does need some tweaking but all the information that is on this site is also there.   Click on the tab on the top right hand side “Diane’s Daily” to get my daily entries.   Please check out my new site and post on the forums!    If you like you can  “like” my facebook page at


The quizzes and forums on the new site work best if you use the firefox motzilla browser.

Check it out and let me know what you think!



Today’s Lunch

16 10 2012

I made Babotie for lunch today (pronounced) ba-boor-tea.  I was visiting Melodie Kline over at the Living Room kitchen (see food activists and kitchens in downtown eastside) and she mentioned that they had recently made it for a meal and that people really liked it.  So I googled some recipes and gave it a shot.  It was pretty darn tasty.    It’s the national dish of South Africa, made with ground beef, raisins, toasted nuts, curry spices, sauteed and then baked with egg custard.   Classic comfort food.

For the vegetarians I made South African eggplant stew with peanuts, raisins, garlic onions and spices and made an apple chutney and coconut rice with potatoes and peas for both entree’s.

Dinner (for 100) was pork schitzel with a white bean sauteed’ with  zuchinni, fresh herbs,  tomatoes and smokey bacon and green salad.  There was a lot of pounding and breading involved. It was the end of my day and week and I forgot to take pics.  The babotie picture looked nasty (cheap camera and bad lighting)

so I did not post it but I will definitely make it again.  Here are some pics of the eggplant peanut stew and chickpea, avacado salad.

Work Menus

13 10 2012

Hi Everyone,

I will be posting my menus again at the beginning of every work week for Thursday, Friday, Saturday lunch and Saturday dinner for anyone who wants to know what’s on the menu for my work week.

Today I made a Jamaican pork curry with yellow rice for the meat eaters and a spiced black beans with rice, salsa, and yogurt for the vegetarians.  My boss Steve made the chickpea veg and fresh herb salad!

I took some pics but they do not really do justice to the food.  You need decent lighting and camera equipment to make food look really good and I don’t have either. But I figured I might as well post them anyway. (it was a really good lunch!)  Click on pics for  closeup.

presenting… Tin Pan Chef Downtown Eastside 2010!

3 03 2011

Tin Pan Chef DTES 2010: Part 1 – Intro and Cooking

Tin Pan Chef DTES 2010: Part 2 – Judging and Crowning

Tin Pan Chef DTES 2010: Part 3 – Interview and Wrap Up

Tinpan Chef…coming soon

21 02 2011

I will be posting a link to a film I made with some friends in a few days! Here is a little synopsis.

TinPan Chef Downtown Eastside is a cooking competition using sealed food boxes from the Greater Vancouver Foodbank. The purpose of this project is to draw attention to the challenges of maintaining a healthy diet experienced by people living on limited incomes, particularly in the Downtown Eastside.

The Competition RulesTwo chefs from nonprofit or community kitchens create at least 3 courses within a one hour timeline, using 2 hotplates each. Each chef is allowed an assistant and a $3.00 budget for “special” ingredients to supplement their food box. They also have access to a “pantry” which contains condiment packets for seasoning, and a minimal supply of basic ingredients like flour and oil from Army and Navy and The Dollar Store. At the end of the hour, 3 judges from the community score the dishes based on taste, appearance and creativity. One of the chefs is named TinPan Chef, Downtown Eastside.

The results of the competition

The competition segment of the film illustrates challenges faced in creating healthy food with limited ingredients and offers some basic recipes that can be cooked on a hotplate.
The judges are from the neighborhood and comment on ways in which people are impacted by food insecurity and make suggestions for improvements.

This film was made with an extremely small budget and by volunteers. Cameras and lighting equipment were loaned by BCIT, food boxes were donated by Greater Vancouver Food Bank, and the kitchen was provided by LifeSkills Centre,Portland Hotel Society. I am hoping to make another episode soon. I hope you check out Tinpan Chef when I post it in a couple of days and that you send me some feedback!

Recipes will be posted in upcoming blog along with a summary of episode 1.