Kosher foodies can look forward to a fine-dining pop-up restaurant, March 25 and 26 run by and in support of Dani (Developing Nurturing and Independence) .
Catered by Dani Dairy Delights, the restaurant will be run at the Dani Centre at Garnet A. Williams Community Centre in Thornhill. It will seat 50 people per evening and feature a four-course pareve meal.
Dani was started in 2005 by Kathy Laszlo and Susie Sokol to create opportunities for young Jewish adults with physical or cognitive challenges to participate as valued members of the community and enjoy a meaningful and dignified quality of Jewish life.
Dani Dairy Delights, the organization’s catering business, began in 2011 as an important part of Dani’s day program.
Josh Salmon, a Dani volunteer, said Dani Dairy Delights has catered to homes and offices, and each participant has a job that is based on interests and abilities.
“We provide all of the young adults with the opportunity to take part in the catering business, but we don’t force them,” he said.
Orders are delivered and payment is collected by the young adults, and the money raised is placed in a business account. The participants pay themselves a nominal salary from the profits, and the rest goes to fund programs.
Salmon said Dairy Delights recently prepared a dinner for 300 people at an abilities seminar.
“We were hired because the organizers wanted to showcase an organization that employs people with special needs,” he said.
“We did it as a buffet and served salmon teriyaki, roasted potatoes, pasta, salad, fruit and cookies.”
Dani participants acted as sous chefs and did food preparation such as washing, peeling, chopping and slicing, while others did serving, he added.
Dani Dairy Delights also prepares gift baskets and runs a snack kiosk inside the community centre.
“We try to hone in on the kids’ skills. Some do repetitive tasks, but they feel accomplished about it. For many, it’s the first time they are being looked up to for what they’re doing, and the first time they’re getting paid.”
Salmon conceived the idea for the pop-up restaurant – he’s keeping mum about the actual menu – because he was unaware of one ever being done as a fundraiser, he said.
“Kosher diners look for high-level, innovative cuisine, and this is what they’re going to get. It will be a culinary experience. All cooking will be done here under the leadership of our resident chef, Orly Abu.”
Salmon said Dani has had people come on board as sponsors, and has already raised $20,000.
He said that not only will the food be delicious, but it “will be food for the soul. By attending, you will be helping other people help themselves. That is what Dani is all about. We want a hand up, not a hand out.”
For information and reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 905-889-3264, ext. 231.