Last week, my friend Doug announced that he is moving to Bancroft to take on a new job.
Generally, when my friends are given exciting new opportunities I’m thrilled. But, when a new opportunity means that a friend is moving away it is bittersweet. When that friend is an amazing raw, vegan chef it is almost devastating.
If you’re familiar with the vegan food scene in Toronto then you know Doug McNish. He’s worked at Urban Herbivore, Live and Raw Aura, presented numerous cooking demos for TVA, won the premiere Vegan Iron Chef competition at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair and judged at the 2009 Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off. His tattoos of vegetables and fruit and his generous smile certainly make him stand out in a crowd.
I’ve worked with Doug on a number of projects and events. He has volunteered his time to help me out more often than I can even count. As much as I love the late night text messages about ingredients, or reviewing spreadsheets of logistics over the phone, watching Doug inspire a room makes it all worth it. He’s had quite a journey to veganism and his genuine devotion to living with compassion opens people’s hearts and minds.
But where Doug really wields his powers of persuasion is with his food. So, when I heard he had just a couple weeks left in town, I rounded up some friends (Andrea, Dominic, Nicole, Dan, Jennifer and Nancy) for dinner.
We arrived at Raw Aura ready to indulge in a really fantastic meal. We munched on crunchy kale chips while discussing Toronto’s First Vegan Scavenger Hunt (I’m currently recruiting team members).
For dinner Dan and I shared the special: vegetable noodles with crisp spinach and a creamy curry sauce. The heat of the curry was a bit too intense for us – but the creamy sauce and incredible textures kept calling us back for another bite
Although we were all quite satiated we couldn’t pass up the Dessert Platterthat Doug offered to prepare.