Food Hero Stories

Devin + Mary

It's not glamorous, but someone has to do it My Food Hero Is...
my family friend, Mary

Devin Connell, owner of Delica Kitchen, writes about her food hero, Mary Risley, and why she is supporting Community Food Centres Canada this holiday season.

1.    Who's the food hero in your life?

#Myfoodhero is Mary Risley, founder of Tante Marie Cooking School and Food Runners in San Francisco. She is one of my father's oldest friends and I have many fond memories of her visiting our family over the years when she would come back to Toronto for the holidays. 

2.    How does she show she cares through food?

Mary's work through Food Runners is based on simple concept. Donate food from those that have too much to others that don't have enough. Through her connections in the food industry, she persuaded restaurants to save their excess food, which she then picked up and delivered to local shelters. It's about as unglamorous as it gets, but she persevered and was awarded the James Beard Humanitarian award in 2002 for her efforts.

3.    What's your fondest food memory of them?

My fondest memory of Mary is the month that I stayed with her at her home in San Francisco. She set me up with an internship at the Slanted Door and I spent the month cooking and eating my way through the city. One day, she invited Chuck Williams (the founder of Williams Sonoma) over for lunch. I made him a hazelnut, crème fraîche and fig tart which he had two slices of. That was a good day!

4.    Why is it important for you to support an organization that uses food as a tool to increase physical and mental health + community belonging? What about this approach resonates with you?

Food is so much more than just sustenance. It brings people together, it starts conversations, it breeds creativity and exposes us to different cultures, which is exactly what Community Food Centres Canada aspires to do. My motto has always been 'Eat Together'. This emphasizes to me how important it is to make meals a point in the day where you connect with your friends, community or even just yourself. It's a time to slow down, nourish yourself and feel grounded.

Thanks to Devin for contributing to our #myfoodhero campaign, which supports Community Food Centres Canada to offer empowering food programs that build better health, skills, and belonging in the communities that need it most. Join Devin by making a donation today!

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