Cooking is a passion for many people on Quadra Island, and Heather Simpson is no exception.
“I love good food, and I think cooking is definitely a way of bringing people together,” she says.
And that passion for food has brought the Island together with a new cookbook titled A Taste of Life on Quadra Island.
“It was an absolutely major volunteer undertaking!” says Heather, who contributed recipes and was on the core organizing committee. “We had artists and chefs, home bakers, photographers, writers, artisans, and food stylists.”
Thousands of volunteer hours went into this beautiful book — including more than 80 cooks testing the 350 recipes Islanders submitted.
Twenty-one writers contributed history tales and gardening and foraging tips, and 22 photographers donated their time.
“It was challenging and a lot of work, but it was fun to try and make the food come alive,” says lead photographer Vince Kehn.
The cookbook is fundraiser for the Quadra Children’s Centre, which has been helping Island families since 1996, and thousands of copies have already been sold.
“The fundraiser has been absolutely fantastic beyond words,” says Quadra Children’s Centre co-director Tucker Dinnes. “It has allowed us to provide so many things that we would have probably struggled to provide in the past as a non-profit organization.”
“It’s been really great to have the pressure taken off of sort of watching financially every little bit of what we’re doing and given us some freedom to really focus on strengthening the programs,” adds Quadra Children’s Centre co-director Cally Overton.
For Heather, whose children went to the centre over 30 years ago, the fundraiser is a way to give back and help with some much-needed building repairs.
“It’s just so near and dear to our hearts and for everybody on the Island,” Heather explains. “It’s really the heart of the community.”
“You know, when you saw that end result, it was like, ‘Wow, this is a great accomplishment!'” Vince adds.
And it’s an accomplishment that showcases how important community is on Quadra Island.
“As a small community, to have a group of people come together on a project of this size and impact, when I think of the time and energy and love that has been put into this project, it’s absolutely beautiful,” Tucker says.