Daily bite: Winnipeg chefs announce Remembering Anthony Bourdain fundraiser

In the wake of Anthony Bourdain passing, Winnipeg chefs Mandel Hitzer and Adam Donnelly hosts fundraiser for Canadian Mental Health Association

Image for Daily bite: Winnipeg chefs announce Remembering Anthony Bourdain: a fundraiser for Canadian Mental Health Association
Mandel Hitzer (left) and Adam Donnelly collaborate on a mental health discussion and fundraiser in Winnipeg.

The culinary world was rocked with the tragic passing of Anthony Bourdain, and has shed some light on the struggles on mental health within the culinary industry. Two of Canada's top chefs, deer + almond's Mandel Hitzer and Segovia's Adam Donnelly, announced a fundraiser honouring the late Anthony Bourdain and to help normalize the stuggles with mental health. The fundraiser event, taking place on July 3 at The Forks, in Winnipeg, Man. The event will feature perspectives and education on mental health from guest speakers and a six-course tasting menu inspired by dishes and ideas loved by Anthony Bourdain. All proceeds raised through ticket sales and fundraising will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The event aims to educate and continue important conversations surrounding mental health. The Winnipeg-based chefs and restaurateurs, Hitzer and Donnelly, both have numerous accolades including landing places on this year's Canada's 100 Best restaurant list. They both spoke of the pressures that mount in their industry.

"Anthony Bourdain had an incredible impact on my life in the kitchen. He was an extraordinary talent and had such an incredible ability to connect with people. He was also the first chef that many in my generation knew of who exposed the dark side of chef culture. As Anthony was so global, all these chefs were reading Kitchen Confidential around the world, and we were like, wow, its not just me or my restaurant. There is something bigger happening here," said Donnelly. 


​Winnipeg family, friends, colleagues, mentors and leaders, On Friday, June 8, we lost a remarkable leader in our culinary community, Anthony Bourdain. Soon after, I received a message from my dear friend, Clint Ducharme, asking if I could help bring the people of Winnipeg together to remember Anthony and show our support of mental health and wellness. ​The first thing I did was call Adam Donnelly. Adam and I worked side by side at Fazzo, long before Segovia and deer + almond opened more than nine years ago. When you work side by side, long hours, slugging it out day-in and day-out, there is a very unique and special bond that happens. You become family. When I spend one on one time with Adam, I always open up about the good, the bad and the ugly. He knows my some of deepest fears and I've sought his help and guidance more times than I can count about being a leader, a coach, a boss and a chef. It is with great anticipation that we announce an event in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Remembering Anthony Bourdain. All proceeds from ticket price with go to the Canadian Mental Health Association and the six-course dinner will be hosted by myself and Adam Donnelly. The dinner will be held on July 3 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $100 (plus tax) and available at raw-almond.com. [@rawalmondwpg] We invite all members of the community to join us, show their support, and participate in a group discussion hosted by Adam, myself and leaders and mentors from our Winnipeg community. We're living in a time with the most documented depression, anxiety and suicide in human history. #thestruggleisreal. For me, it is so easy to hide in the kitchen or at home and feel like I'm a part of the community through the world of social media, but I feel it is extremely important, more than ever, to get together for such an incredible and worthwhile cause. For us and for future generations. Anthony taught me more than I can ever express and we want to honour his life. We are devastated that he could not see a way out of his suffering. We wonder what would have happened if he reached out to just one friend.

A post shared by Mandel Hitzer (@mansands) on

In light of this tragic event, it is important to educate and continue important conversations surrounding mental health. With rates of depression, anxiety and suicide on the rise, there has never been a greater need for mental health research and funding.

"Most Canadians will experience a mental health crisis in their lifetime. Its so important to speak up and end the stigma that weighed on mental health issues for generations. Talking about your struggles is the first step towards getting help,” says Marion Cooper, the executive director of Canadian Mental Health Association in Winnipeg.

"Anthony taught me more than I can ever express and we want to honour his life," said Hitzer. "We are devastated that he could not see a way out of his suffering. We wonder what would have happened if he reached out to just one friend. It’s time to speak up. It’s time to ask for help. It’s time to open up about our struggles with mental health. It’s time to learn about the roads to mental wellness. Its time to reignite the belief that together, united, we can accomplish anything."

To purchase tickets to remember Anthony Bourdain, find out more about this event or how you can support to the Canadian Mental Health Assocation, visit RAW: Almond's website.