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dining out for life

Diners contribute to AIDS charities By Oona Woods Whistler's participation in the charity fund-raiser Dining Out For Life raised at least $8,000 and maybe as much as $10,000 last week. Local restaurants donated 25 per cent of their food revenue on Thursday, March 12 to Friends For Life and A Loving Spoonful, two AIDS related charities. Ten Whistler restaurants, including Araxi’s, The Bear Foot Bistro, Black’s Restaurant, Christine’s on Blackcomb, Fogata, Garibaldi Lift Company, Monk's Grill, Plaza Bistro, Quattro and Portobello joined in the fund-raiser, along with 110 restaurants in Vancouver. This meant that the diners had a wide choice of food and price ranges to chose from. Chef Concierge at the Chateau Whistler and local Dining Out For Life co-ordinator, Gordon Dyson said that the evening was a definite success. "I want to give huge congratulations to the restaurants participating. It was extra generous of them to participate at this time of year." Dyson says that while restaurants in Vancouver may be eager to boost off-season sales, the restaurants of Whistler don't need the extra influx as badly because they are already busy. Last year the only restaurant in town to be involved was the Garibaldi Lift Company. "When I hosted at the GLC last year I found that people were thrilled to learn that 25 per cent of their food tab would be donated to charity, without them having to do anything but enjoy dinner. Many people ordered an appetiser or desert when they probably would not have. Some even ordered pizza to take home and eat as leftovers just to increase the amount donated." Dyson said that when word got out about the fund-raiser representatives of restaurants approached him. "People were coming to me to ask about it. I knew I had to open it up and get more people involved. Considering we raised up to $10,000 there was very little effort. You don't have to sell tickets or have a raffle or a duck race. All you have to do is make people aware it's happening." Next year Dyson plans to open it up even further and get the lunchtime crowd to join in the fund-raising. "Next year we'll be recruiting for the opportunity to go out for lunch and donate. Often people working here in offices who live in Squamish or Pemberton would eat lunch here but would be unwilling to hang around for dinner. We'll expand on full service restaurants for dinner but move into the lunchtime cafes and bistros."