Greater Victoria foodies support the arts

Colour Your Palate raises funds for children's art programs

Hotel Oswego sales and catering co-ordinator Vanessa Pennington

A dozen top Greater Victoria chefs are preparing to do battle against each other, with the primary objectives to achieve colour in their canapés – and raise money for an artistic cause.

Colour Your Palate, set for April 3 at the Hotel Grand Pacific, will see guests fêted with fancy finger food. The dishes are the foundation of this fundraiser for artsREACH, a program that provides high-level arts experiences in schools to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience them.

The event, in its fifth year, is an initiative of the OCTA Collective, a group of artists and other volunteers dedicated to teaching at-risk children life skills through art.

“The importance of it is that children, when they’re participating in arts experiences, they develop other skills like communication, personal management and teamwork,” said OCTA co-founder and past-president Marilyn Sing. “When you’re learning academically, you don’t learn those skills.”

In the six years since it has been administering artsREACH in the Capital Region, OCTA – an acronym for “only creative thinking allowed” – has brought the program into 42 schools. The feedback, Sing said, has been positive. “We hear about the self-confidence (students have) developed, and the fact they connect with other children in their classes,” she said.

The link between the creativity generated through artsREACH and that of the chefs is a natural, she said. “Chefs are very creative people, and we challenged them by asking them to draw colour.”

While some colours are more difficult to create naturally in food, such as blue, the Colour Your Palate competitors are allowed some creativity, such as using “blue rare” meat, which is pink.

The event gets underway at 5:30 p.m. April 3 at the Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St. Tickets are $60 in advance or $65 at the door and include a complimentary beer or wine, samples of every canapé and an entry for door prizes.

For information or to book tickets, call 250-812-3881.

For more on the artsREACH program visit

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