Gallery Grill's Suzanne Baby joins other top Toronto chefs to help the homeless

Suzanne Baby and Jerry Horton
Suzanne Baby and Jerry Horton at the Gallery Grill

On October 13, several of Toronto’s most celebrated chefs will be at the Gardiner Museum for the annual Empty Bowls fundraising event.

Among them will be Suzanne Baby, chef at the Gallery Grill, located at Hart House at the University of Toronto. 

Baby, helped by Gallery Grill manager Jerry Horton, will load up her car with enough soup for 400, maybe 500 people. She and the other celebrity chefs will spend several hours pouring soup into beautiful ceramic bowls made by Ontario-based potters. The potters donate more than 400 bowls to the event, the chefs donate their time and recipes, and guests contribute $55 a ticket to sample the soups and take home their chosen bowl at the end of the evening. All proceeds go to Anishnawbe Health Toronto, a culture-based Indigenous centre that works with those who seek to escape homelessness.

“It takes place in a beautiful space, right where Jamie [Kennedy] used to have his restaurant. It’s a great vibe and the bowls are gorgeous. I love Empty Bowls and what it does for the city’s homeless,” says Baby.

Jamie Kennedy invited Baby to participate over 20 years ago.

“He sent me an email and said, ‘would you like to be involved?’ And I said, ‘absolutely.’ He was instrumental in starting the whole thing. It’s a great opportunity to give back and it’s really rewarding to be able to support and use your position as a chef to help out.”

Siobhan Boyd, senior manager, education & adjunct curator, Gardiner Museum, praised Baby’s involvement. 

“Empty Bowls is now in its 24th year and Chef Baby has been involved almost from the very beginning. Every year when I place the call to chefs to participate, Chef Baby is one of the first to respond. She has served some wonderful soups over the years!” 

Baby appreciates being given carte blanche. “As long as it’s soup,” she says, “I can cook whatever I please. We also have great local produce this time of the year that I can use.”

“It’s fun for us, too, to be honest. Once you get the logistics out of the way and you’re set up, it’s nice to be able to socialize with other chefs. Some of them I only see at this event once a year. We try each other’s soups, and the spirit is great,” she says.

Find out more about Empty Bowls.

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