Vij’s Meeru Dhalwala showcases Vancouver’s home cooking at the Joy of Feeding

Meeru Dhalwala (second from right) is behind Joy of Feeding. | Image from Joy of Feeding on Facebook

Meeru Dhalwala (second from right) is behind Joy of Feeding. | Image from Joy of Feeding on Facebook

Meeru Dhalwala’s name is synonymous with Indian food in Vancouver. But the chef and co-owner of Vij’s and Rangoli restaurants also has a deep appreciation for the city’s multicultural home cooks—and she wants more people to taste what’s coming out of their kitchens.

You can do just that on September 19 at Joy of Feeding, an inter-generational, international food festival that takes place at the University of British Columbia. It brings together 16 cooks from 16 different ethnic backgrounds to sample dishes that they make for their families at home.

The evening is a fundraiser for UBC Farm to support local, sustainable food systems. But it also celebrates how cooking nourishes families and builds bridges to cultural understanding.

Image sourced from Joy of Feeding on Facebook

Image sourced from Joy of Feeding on Facebook

Dhalwala co-founded the annual event several years ago. While it took a hiatus in 2014, it’s back this fall.

“I had the idea for Joy of Feeding in the middle of the night in November 2010,” Dhalwala said in an interview with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm.

“I was involved in many events related to local food and farming but felt frustrated that increasingly I was seeing the same basic group of people at each event. We weren’t tapping into a larger community….

“I knew that many immigrant families still cooked at home on a regular basis and I knew that Vancouverites as a whole enjoy many ethnic cuisines. So I decided to hold an event that connected those who wished to cook and loved to eat various types of cuisines to those who actually did cook.”

Image sourced from Joy of Feeding on Facebook

Image sourced from Joy of Feeding on Facebook

The event is family-friendly, in keeping with the Joy of Feeding theme: cooking is about breaking bread with friends and family.

So what kind of food can you expect? A few of the dishes include Tibetan beef momos, Brazilian vegetable and chicken salad, and Rwandan lamb and cassava-leaf stew. There’s also Persian adass oolo (lentil rice) with eggplant stew, Quebecois Cheddar and beer fondue, and Greek baklava, among other treats.

New for this year, beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Image sourced from UBC Farm on Facebook

Image sourced from UBC Farm on Facebook

It all happens from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. rain or shine, to a background of live music; there will also be tours of UBC Farm.

Tickets are $50 for guests 13 and over; children 12 and under are complimentary but must be registered. You can get them through the Joy of Feeding website.

You can follow Carolyn Ali on Twitter @carolynali

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