When I think of community, I think of a cohesive whole, when I contemplate good food, I understand that using the best possible ingredients will create a meal that will excite the taste buds, satiate the physical hunger, satisfy the soul, and when this writers busy mind needs mental stimuli, I turn to intellectual ideas and great conversation.
What happens when all these wants and needs are met in one place?
Well dear readers, magic happens.
This is a review about collaboration in its finest form.
Collaboration by definition is simply working jointly together. While effort and exemplary organizational skills may help with outcome, sometimes the bits all line up and things just work. Sylvia Hunt, Professor extraordinaire from Laurentian University explained to me that the Laurentian University Speakers Series came about as she conversed over coffee with her colleagues.
This esteemed bunch, are an interesting group of passionate folks, or as Ms. Hunt refers to them as, “an interdisciplinary community”. Her “office is beside someone from History, next to a Sociologist, across the hall from someone in Political Science, around the corner from someone in Business, it makes for an eclectic atmosphere in which to work”.
The educators share their enthusiasm for learning in the classrooms with the students, and with three post-secondary institutions in the Barrie area; Georgian College, Laurentian and Lakehead University, we have a plethora of educational options, a wide diversity of views, abundant opportunities. Ms. Hunt felt that this diversity would make an interesting format for a series of talks. Her colleagues agreed. Stepping out of the classrooms, they choose to share their talents and interests with the community by means of a themed series of lectures. The first of the series was held in the fall of 2013, entitled “Food for Thought”, the second theme, presently offered is “Think About Drink”.
The Creative Space is the location, the ideal space, a perfect collaborative environment to bring together the speakers and the audience in our downtown core.
Chad Ballantyne created the co-working community that is The Creative Space, giving freelancers, startups and micro-businesses the opportunity to work and collaborate in an innovative, creative community focused space. It is a glorious space. By day filled with desks, the walls an ever changing myriad of local art work.
“The Morals” practice in the basement space, lending a melodic backdrop to evening events. With a committed community focus, the space is available for social agencies or charity groups at a reasonable rental rate. This is a feel good locale that walks the walk, be it for social or environmental responsibility, education and mentorship focus or historical and cultural leanings, all of which matter deeply and as such, are carved in their code of ethics.
It just feels good in this place, which I strongly suspect enhances the work done by those that call The Creative Space their workplace home.
Enter Cravings; the final component to the lecture series, the piece de resistance, the edible factor. When Laurentian University approached Cravings to cater “Food for Thought”, suggesting that perhaps fruit and cheese plates with some coffee for a beverage would be hospitable offerings, Cravings Fine Food Market & Catering, well versed in events, knew they could make the comestibles far more interesting. They did this by working with the lecture series’ specific themes to develop a tasting menu that genuinely supported each evening’s event.
As one who attended all the “Food for Thought“ lectures and now looks forward to the Wednesday nights of “Think About Drink”, I can attest that Cravings does their culinary research and treats us to an amazing array of nibbles, amuse bouche, mini mains, sweets and drinks.
Craving’s is Angela Pidutti and her partner in life and business, Craig Russel. Angela grew up in Sudbury and as such her affiliation to Laurentian University is far reaching. For Angela this is working with a piece of home.
Growing up, home was a family that knew real food, good food, a family of entrepreneurs who held full and busy lives; they found family time together sharing a meal.
Cravings reflects this in their philosophy. They understand that by providing real food alternatives to fast food, we can stop by and pick up side dishes or a full meal from their hot table or amply filled freezers to take home to share with our families.
Cravings event manager, Jennifer Allen, shares sentences with Angela Pidutti, an interview with them is a conversation in quotes. It is a joy to see how easily the ideas flow.
The focus is on providing very good food, be it at the store or any event they cater; catering is their specialty. The hot table is impressive; stocked
daily with an amazing selection of lunch and dinner items, sides, and mains, fabulous panini sandwiches and the best salmon salad I have ever had.
In store they also sell products from local suppliers which complement their items. The sweet potato and taro chips are a favorite of mine.
Collaboration, like a great sandwich, the crusty panini bread cradles the flavours, the tender onions complement the shaved rare roast beef, the savory condiments lend tang, it satisfies, it all works. Shared values, commitment to social good, bringing together their best to our community, as Jennifer Allen said when speaking about the collaboration with The Creative Space and Laurentian Lecture series, “you would pick them as a partner in gym class, you just know you would play well together”.
This sense of camaraderie, of team spirit, has arrived in our downtown core on Wednesday nights, get thee to Dunlop Street and share in the spirit.
The Creative Space
12 Dunlop Street East
Cravings Fine Food Market & Catering
131 Commerce Park Drive, Unit A
Barrie ON L4N 8X1
This review was originally posted on Simcoe Dining in April 2014.
Edited and updated on July 26, 2015.
Copyright 2015 YYZtech Group Media Ltd. Used with permission.