This weekend is expected to be a warm reprieve from the Spring snowfall we saw earlier in the week, which is perfect timing for the Okotoks Food Bank’s BBQ fundraiser.

They’ll be serving up lunch at Sobeys from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow (May 3) and copies of their cookbook, "Food, a Simple Connection," will be available for purchase too.

It was created through a collaboration of local chefs, photographers, and other talented Okotokians to mark the Okotoks Food Bank’s 35th anniversary and was originally released in 2020.

Two of the Okotoks chefs who helped write it, Jarod Traxel and Darren Nixon, will be at the event.

Traxel has fond memories of working with other passionate community members to make the idea a reality during a time when a pandemic was forcing people apart.

“It was such a cool project to come together and focus on. We did a lot of it remotely and then when things loosened up a bit we started testing recipes, we were reporting back and getting all the nuts and bolts together for it. It ain’t no small task to do a cookbook! It’s a lot of work, and I’m still so proud of how that project came together.”

Other contributors included Michelle Traxel, Sherry Lindenback, and Carolyn Mercier, as well as Derrick Birkmann, Chris Large, and Brent Calver, who lent their skills to the book’s presentation and photography.

One of the recipes, Nixon’s Rainbow Slaw, will be available to try at the event.

Nixon explains how he came up with the concept.

“A salad, when I grew up, always seemed to mean lettuce. The fact of the matter is we don’t grow much lettuce around here… I wanted to build a coleslaw that had random ingredients that are easily available and not just lettuce. It’s basically a coleslaw that’s got grated beets and grated carrots, it’s got all different types of cabbage, kale, pumpkin seeds, and to jazz it up we’ve got bacon and dates in there, so it’s got a bit of sweetness and saltiness. It’s just got a lot of textures and colours.”

He’s excited for the chance to hold an in-person event like this, as that wasn't really an option when it was first released.

“When the project was done, we didn’t really have a chance to do the in-person thing… So, this will be extra special for that. I think even people who have already purchased the book already, it’ll be a great opportunity to chat with all of them.”

Hotdogs, drinks, and Rainbow Slaw will be available for $5 per person, or for free with the purchase of a cookbook for $40.

Traxel is grateful to have contributed to something that has provided a lasting connection to the community and the food bank.

“35 years of service is huge for the local food bank, and now, more than ever, they need even more support. Demand and the need for these programs are very important, and people who thought it wouldn’t be something they’d ever need are finding out that it’s here for them. I’m very thankful that it’s still there and available to help them.”

More information on the event can be seen on the Okotoks Food Bank’s Facebook page.