Feasting for Philanthropy


Fine dining and hospitals may seem to be in categories that are widely divergent. Nevertheless, an event which combines the two is taking place this month (until March 19th).  Called “The Feast for St. Joseph’s”,  the “Feast” allows Hamilton restaurant patrons a chance to enjoy a delectable dinner at one of several local restaurants knowing that 10% of their bill will be going to benefit our very own St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

This is the second year running for this singular Hamilton promotion which has been very well received. The idea was the brainchild of the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation’s Director of Special Events who had noticed the popularity of events such as “A Taste of Burlington”.  It seems that in Hamilton, as in Burlington, this period of frigid weather is a slow time of year and several restaurants responded with alacrity to an idea that would encourage some brisk business.  And our local foodies were thrilled at the chance to “eat well” and, at the same time, “do good.”   The dozen restaurants involved are from all across the city — from Ancaster’s Old Mill, to downtown’s Lo Presti’s at Maxwell’s, to Stoney Creek’s Vicar’s Vice — well — a whole list of the participating restaurants can be found at the website at


Helping to support healthcare is a no-brainer because we know that sooner or later either we ourselves, our friends or someone in our family will need these services.  Carrie Trembinski, Director of Marketing and Communications for the St. Joseph’s Foundation says that equipment and research are the priorities for any monies raised and just a glance at the website’s list of needed equipment and the cost of these items is a chastening experience.  A few examples —

Blanket Warmers — cost $5000 each — to warm up blankets for newborn babies, a sick child or for someone recovering from treatment or surgery;

Ultra Sound Machine — cost $250,000 each — for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions;

IV Pumps – cost $7901 each — to ensure that patients receive correct fluids, medications or nutrients at all times.

And not only do we want all of this costly equipment available close to our own homes, but we also require on-going research so that cutting edge treatment remains a viable option. There are three areas of priority right now at St. Joe’s, in terms of research:

1)  Mental Health and Addiction Services:  St Joseph’s is currently the regional leader in psychiatric care and research. Phase 1 of the newly constructed West 5th campus opened in February, 2014, helping to support individuals and families coping with mental illness and addiction.  Phase 2 is in the works.

2)  Lung and Airway Diseases: St. Joseph’s provides treatment for rare and complex thoracic conditions including thoracic surgery, lung cancer, emphysema, COPD (chronic pulmonary disease, a long term incurable lung disease)) and CHF (congestive heart failure).

3)  Kidney and Urinary Tract Diseases:  St. Joseph’s is a centre of innovation in kidney care.  For instance, surgeons at St. Joseph’s Hospital have a long history of advances in the treatment and diagnosis of kidney stones.  In 1990, St. Joseph’s became the second hospital in Ontario to offer lithotripsy, a non-invasive way to break up stones in the kidney, ureter or bladder.  The service was the busiest in the world and today treats more than 1200 patients a year.  In 1993, St. Joseph’s urologists were the first to treat a human for kidney stones using a homium laser, a treatment now used around the world.  Currently, fund raising has begun for a new dialysis centre.

I offer these few examples because I know that sometimes there is a “disconnect” between philanthropy and its benefits.  But these services(and equipment) are not only close to our home, but close to the bone and to our hearts.  And here’s a way of helping by offering a small gift that’s not too expensive and having a great evening out, at the same time.

And since you probably don’t want to cook up an item from the hospital’s menu (we’ll save that discussion for a later date), here’s a recipe from one of the participating restaurants which just happens to be one of our Go Cooking favorites as well.

Braised Jack Daniels Back Ribs

from Chef Tim Doan, Lo Presti’s at Maxwell’s mar19backribs


rack of ribs

2 tbsp salt

bay leaves

1 tsp peppercorns

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup Jack Daniels

Granny Smith apples peeled and coredMar19jackdan

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 cups ketchup

1/3 cup cider vinegar

3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly paked

3/4 cup molasses

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup tomato paste


1)  Place the ribs into a pot and completely submerge in water.

2)  Add 2 tbsp salt, bay leaves, peppercorns and white vinegar.

3)  bring to a boil and lower to a simmer.

4)  Cook for about 45 minutes or until tender.

5)  Remove the ribs from the pot and place into a braising pan.

6)  Remove 2 cups of the rib stock and set aside.

7)  Sauté onions, garlic and apples on medium heat until cooked.

8)  Add all remaining ingredients, bring to boil.

9)  Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.

10) Add more Jack Daniels if desired.

11) Add the rib stock to the sauce and mix.

12) Pour the sauce over the ribs, cover and braise in a 375 degree F oven for about another 1, to 1 and 1/2 hours, or until the meat is about to fall off the bone.

My Notes:

And don’t forget the up-coming road race after all of that fine restaurant food.



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