Feed yourself and some needy Calgary kids with Model Milk’s all-star chef charity event Plate Swap dinner

If any of your resolutions for 2019 involve charitable giving, you’re in luck. 

Model Milk’s annual Plate Swap dinner is back for another year, and that means the act of helping an incredible Calgary charity can benefit both local kids and yourself with a tasty endeavour.

Now in its seventh year, the unique collaborative dinner brings together chefs from across the city and country, offering them a chance to create a dish based on the signature creation of another participant. 

Guests will dine on dishes from the chefs behind several acclaimed restaurants, including those who’ve made enRoute magazine’s prestigious best new restaurants list, Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list and one chef who could recently be seen cooking up a storm on Netflix’s culinary competition show, The Final Table.  

The creation of Model Milk and Pigeonhole owner and executive chef Justin Leboe, Plate Swap is also expanding this year with a second event to be held in Toronto in March. 

Children going to school hungry is a national issue, Leboe said, adding that he hopes the expansion to a second city will raise more awareness of the problem. 

From the first event, Calgary’s Plate Swap has raised money for Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids – an organization that ensures thousands of children are able to have healthy and filling lunches while at school. 

It’s a tough thought to stomach, but without this charity these kids would go all day without anything in their bellies, making it incredibly difficult to concentrate on learning. 

Every $1 donated is equal to one lunch, so a fundraiser like Plate Swap means both event guests and kids at school are well fed. Since it started, Plate Swap has raised more than $88,000 for Brown Bagging.

Along with Leboe, those participating this year are:

  • Kayle Burns, Bread & Circus Trattoria (Calgary)
  • Derek Dammann, Maison Publique and McKiernan Luncheonette (Montreal)
  • Darren MacLean, Shokunin (Calgary) 
  • Basilio Pesce, Osteria Rialto and Bar Biltmore (Toronto)
  • Christine Sandford, Biera (Edmonton)

Tickets are already on sale for the Jan. 23 dinner that will be held at Model Milk. The price includes the six-course dinner, along with wine pairings. Tickets can be purchased by email at

The Toronto version of Plate Swap is set for March 4 at Piano Piano. The names of chefs taking part in that event have not yet been revealed.

Gwendolyn Richards is a Calgary-based food writer and the author of Pucker: A Cookbook for Citrus Lovers. She regularly contributes to Avenue Magazine and She shares her cooking and eating adventures – and occasionally some of her favourite outfits – on Twitter and Instagram at @gwendolynmr.