Walking into Gio, the initial feeling is refined yet comfortable. The staff immediately make me feel welcomed and are not presumptuous. The artwork on the walls draw me in: they are all black-and-white images that feel singular and alone, yet cheerful and personable in their presentation and framing. As it turns out, the photographer, Heath Simpson, is a graduate of NSCAD University with a double major in photography and fine arts and was the inspiration for Chef David Woodley and Gio to participate in the unique fundraising event, Dine By Design East.
“We [Gio] were really interested to participate based on Heath’s excitement.” This excitement found Chef Woodley teaming up with NSCAD University to create a room and menu for the inaugural 2013 Dine By Design East event. This effort, along with 9 other culinary and design teams, raised $20,000 towards design scholarship funds at NSCAD University. The first scholarship will be presented this winter and is in memorial to Amber Harkins, the former editor of East Coast Living who passed away from cancer in 2012. Simpson’s photography displayed at Gio is another testament to their commitment to empowering artists within their community.
For Dine By Design East 2014, who better to pair Chef Woodley with than one of the founders of the event, Jonathan Legate of Jonathan Legate Interior Consultation. Creating connections and ties within the design community is a cornerstone in the development of this event. “Design can be a very singular career, without a lot of interactions with other designers,” says Jonathan. “I wanted to create a really special event that brings people together and showcases the amazing talent we have right here on the East Coast. Because together we can create a really big impact.” Including the educational component was important to the overarching goals of the event. Not only does this event bring together the design and culinary communities, but it also makes a difference in the lives of students. Growing up in a small town in Nova Scotia, Jonathan knows how important it is to reach out and encourage those who have that desire to create. An event like Dine By Design East provides vision for young people aspiring to work within the arts.
It looks like this team has been precisely paired: both supporting and encouraging design education through empowerment and action.
Dine By Design East is upcoming and happening soon! Tickets are on sale now and going quickly. The Gala evening on October 30th is your chance to mingle and connect with the designers and chef teams and to sample your way through each menu. A tea room style fashion show at noon on October 31st showcases Atlantic fashion designers and purveyors of fine fashion. The weekend is open to the public and features two seminars. On Saturday, don’t miss ‘Avant Garde Cuisine’ with Chef Luis Cleval and Suzanne Saul of Attica. Sunday, treat yourself to some straight talk and humour with HGTV celebrity designer, Meredith Heron when she’ll reveal designer secrets.