Sophie Fenlon, executive chef at Vis-a-Vis Bouchon Bar and the Penny Farthing Public House. Oak Bay’s Vis-a-Vis is one of 12 restaurants participating in Kitchens 4 Missions. (Don Denton/Black Press)

Greater Victoria philanthropic food event raises funds for mental health

Oak Bay’s Vis-a-Vis one of 12 restaurants participating in Kitchens 4 Missions

The loss of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain to his battle with depression sent shock waves around the world. Like Bourdain, the wake from the news found its way into nooks and crannies all over the globe, grabbing hearts and forcing a long hard look at the beauty and pain of being alive. Greater Victoria is no exception, evidenced by a philanthropic food event that was sparked by the news of his death.

Kitchens 4 Missions puts an innovative twist on the standard gala dinner. On Sept. 29, participating restaurants in Greater Victoria generously donate one table of 10 reserved for the night – a table that will be hosted by a local celebrity. Guests are invited to dine with friends, clients, or like-minded people at the table – with all proceeds going towards frontline mental health services in Victoria.

Vis-a-Vis in Oak Bay is one of the participating restaurants, offering a three-course dinner with drink pairings. The table will be hosted by Hazel Braithwaite, director of Community Campaign for United Way Greater Victoria.

“I am so thrilled to be involved, as mental health is a huge issue in our community right now – all of us are touched by it. It’s something that can hit anyone at any age in any income bracket, so any assistance we can give to those who might need help is important,” said Braithwaite.

After dinner, guests head to the downtown harbour for an exclusive water ballet performance by the Victoria Harbour Ferries and attend what organizers are promising to be the after party of the year with music, dancing, raffle prizes and silent auction.

Proceeds raised by Kitchens 4 Missions will go to the Citizens’ Counselling Centre, an organization that offers affordable, accessible counselling to adult residents of Greater Victoria on a sliding fee scale, making help accessible to all.

The event is being held as a kick off to Mental Illness Awareness Week (Sept. 30 to Oct. 6).

For more information check out the website at

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