Hungry Hearts chef’s pick their protein at the New Roads Therapeutic Recovery Community greenhouse. Photo supplied.

Victoria’s premiere culinary gala and Our Place fundraiser, the tenth annual Hungry Hearts features eight of the region’s top chefs, an elevated culinary competition, and a pivotal opportunity to break the cycle of addiction for women on Vancouver Island.

Award-winning chef Castro Boateng, owner of House of Boateng at Hungry Hearts.
Award-winning chef Castro Boateng, owner of House of Boateng at Hungry Hearts. Photo supplied.

On September 21, Marilena Café & Raw Bar, House of Boateng Café & Catering , Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, Boom + Batten Restaurant & Café, Inn at Laurel Point, Fireside Grill, Oak Bay Beach Hotel, and Virtuous Pie will join Our Place for the Hungry Hearts fundraising gala. Showcasing their impressive skills, competing chefs creates a signature dish, bringing their distinct perspective and gastronomic style to the table. A night of gourmet delight for guests who sample each dish, vote for their favorite and raise funds to support women in recovery.


Funds raised at Hungry Hearts will support Our Place opening the first long-term woman’s addiction recovery community on Vancouver Island this fall. “We have seen life saving and life changing results from our men’s program at New Roads,” explains Director of Philanthropy, Janice Kalin. “We are hungry to provide the same care, opportunity, and healing to the woman of Vancouver Island.”

Catering to women struggling with substance use disorders, mental health challenges, and homelessness, the New Roads Women’s Therapeutic Recovery Community will offer long-term treatment lasting 9 to 24 months. This program will mirror the successful men’s program, where long-term recovery rates are almost double that of shorter programs.

Creating nourishing food is at the heart of the program at New Roads. Working together in the gardens and kitchen, the residents grow and prepare food that provides comfort, community, and transformational healing. In this spirit, the dishes prepared at Hungry Hearts 2024 will reflect on the theme of healing through food.

Our Place paramedic providing care to a community member. Photo supplied.
Our Place paramedic providing care to a community member.

For Chef Nicholas Fennell, of the Fireside Grill, participating in this year’s Hungry Hearts is particularly meaningful because he’s “had lots of family and friends who’ve been through recovery.” Chef Fennell, who has volunteered with various nonprofits supporting the homeless community, acknowledges that food can be a powerful agent of change, capable of nurturing not just the body but also the soul.

In the Women’s Therapeutic Recovery Community, meals will play a crucial role in creating a sense of community, care and wellness. As Meelad Ghanem, of Virtuous Pie, puts it, “Food is a love language, and love is healing.” He adds, “When food surpasses the status of necessity, it becomes therapeutic to the soul, from making it, to gifting it, and eating it. It is the best self-care and most meaningful love language there is.”

An opportunity to express love and support for women, this long-term program will be the only one of it’s kind on Vancouver Island. “Women with addiction face heightened vulnerability, violence and exploitation.” explains Janice Kalin, “this recovery community will provide a safe and supportive space for women to heal themselves and rebuild their lives.”

Chef Castro Boateng, of House of Boateng, who has participated in Hungry Hearts since the very beginning, expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “I’m glad to see that we’re putting women first. My team is comprised of 60 percent women. I think they’ll all be proud to be part of this initiative. I’m going to hand this over to my sous chef, who is a woman, and get her out there representing House of Boateng at this event.”

Hungry Hearts promises to be an unforgettable evening, celebrating the healing power of community and cuisine. Enjoy dishes from eight top chef’s, inspirational stories, complimentary drinks, live auction, and entertainment. Each dish and every donation serve as a step towards a brighter future for women on Vancouver Island.

Tickets are limited. Reserve your Hungry Hearts tickets today at