The sun shone on our wonderful volunteer and DAREarts grad, Hami, as she stood outside the Windup Bird Café, holding a giant DAREarts sign, directing our grads into the café and piquing the curiosity of numerous passersby.
For our first DARE2act event of the new school year, we happily settled into the cozy and welcoming café for a sushi-making workshop with chef, writer and speaker, Sang Kim. For our DAREarts grads, this was a unique and exciting opportunity.
The D2A program, which runs one Friday a month, teaches practical life skills, builds leadership, and offers fun, artistic and cultural experiences in Toronto for our All-the-Arts program graduates and their friends.
Our students streamed into the café, chatting animatedly, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Our grads go to different high schools, but DAREarts bonds them together. The session started with Lead Teacher Laura MacKinnon inviting each student to share their name and a favourite DAREarts memory. A timeline of wonderful experiences emerged, among them the Shakespeare summer camps, break dancing, visits to the AGO and Ripley’s Aquarium.
With this opening circle over, Sang began the workshop by sharing his personal story and reflections on growing up in poverty and stealing food to help feed his family. Now, as a chef and writer, it is his mission to educate young people about food and raise awareness about the number of children in Toronto who do not know where their next meal is coming from. It was a powerful way to begin the workshop and our grads were riveted.
A fascinating presentation about the history of sushi followed. The students’ understanding of sushi as “raw” food was turned on its head as Sang revealed that in fact every element of sushi, from the rice to the fish to the nori, has undergone some form of ROT!
With stomachs rumbling and fingers itching to create, the grads were guided through the careful process of creating three different kinds of sushi rolls. Everyone eagerly went to work, layering rice, fish and vegetables on sheets of seaweed and following a specific method of rolling and slicing the sushi.
As the students happily ate their healthy meal, Sang challenged them to a DARE. He dared them to try all food. He dared them to learn about culture through food, to expand their palates. And in true DAREarts fashion, the grads accepted.
Thank you to Sang Kim for your mentorship and inspirational words and to the Windup Bird Café for being amazing hosts! Our DAREarts youth truly took away food for the body, mind and soul.