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Chefs for Life has been drawing rave reviews for 10 years



Behind every big night out that’s wonderfully decadent, smacks of excellence where it counts most and is just plain fun, stands someone who knows how to pull off all of the above.

In the case of the sumptuous Chefs for Life event, coming up this Saturday night at the Four Seasons Resort, that someone is Kim Osborne.

I’ve only met her on the phone, but Kim is obviously one of those smart, instantly likable dynamos, and a first-rate impresario of "the big night out."

Ten years ago she started Chefs for Life at her own restaurant in Vancouver. Lola’s at Century House, by way of testament to Kim’s expertise and vision, received Vancouver Magazine’s "Best New Restaurant" and "Restaurant of the Year" awards when it opened in 1995.

Two years later, she worked with her then-chef Scott Kidd, formerly of Araxi and now at Café de Paris, to come up with a fundraiser for an organization she felt very close to.

The Vancouver Friends for Life Society was started in the early 1990s to meet the needs of people facing the challenges of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The concept: to reduce the stress and isolation of fighting illness by providing everything from nutritious meals to complementary holistic approaches to healing. (Today, Friends For Life provides support to people with any life-threatening illness, including cancer and hepatitis C.)

"I’d been involved on the edge of Friends for Life since it started, and I wanted to do as much as I could for it because I’ve had many, many friends, who have now passed, who needed the services the society has offered – it’s such an amazing place," she says.

"People who are suffering and close to their last stages of life and don’t have any support system around them can go to Friends for Life and have home-delivered meals, or counselling services, or bereavement help for their friends and family."

The concept Kim envisioned was big, bold and beautiful. It went on to become one of Vancouver’s top culinary and social events, an A-list big night out, both in the kitchen and the front of the house.

"We decided to invite all the best chefs in the city to come into our kitchen and make it an amazingly, outrageously decadent night with the biggest menu we could possibly build, which turned out to be a 12-course dinner with 12 wines, (one) to go with each course. It was a hit from the start," Kim says.

While the venue has changed each year – this is the first time it’s been held outside of Vancouver, a special "road show" to mark the 10 th anniversary – the formula has pretty much stayed the same. Many of the chefs return year after year, each adding his or her contribution to the fabulous 12-course tasting menu. Kim pairs the wines.

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