last dish initiative toronto

One-of-a-kind collectible plates honour shuttered restaurants in Toronto

Thousands of restaurant workers have been left without employment amid ongoing closures of some of Toronto's favourite establishments, and a new fundraising initiative aims to support those who've been impacted by auctioning off one-of-a-kind commemorative plates that display shuttered restaurants' signature dishes.

The Last Dish initiative, organized by the Toronto Restaurant Workers' Relief Fund (TRWRF), is raising money for struggling restaurant workers by having local artists illustrate art plates featuring the most memorable meals from beloved establishments forced to shutter as a result of COVID-19 and auctioning them off to the highest bidder.

last dish initiative toronto

"Blackened Lamb" by Shain Lambert.

"Following the first lockdown in March 2020, so many of the establishments that contribute to Toronto's vibrant culture, have had to close their doors," says the TRWF

"While some restaurants have been able to shift their business model to survive, many iconic establishments shutter for good and unfortunately the impact of the pandemic on this industry is far from over."

last dish initiative toronto

"Penne Salsiccia" by Madison Van Rijn.

The initiative currently features plates with dishes from Vesuvio, Southern AccentKit Kat Italian Bar & GrillFrankie Tomatto'sThe WesterlyWhite Brick KitchenMontecitoMoo FritesThe Walton and Tennessee Tavern, and they're all being auctioned off at until May 31.

All proceeds raised will go to TRWRF, which helps support unemployed restaurant workers during these challenging times by providing grocery assistance via gift cards and mental healthcare access by paying for therapy.

last dish initiative toronto

"Chicken & Waffles" by Pui Yan Fong.

On top of that, the organization says it "does so in a manner that maintains dignity, supports the local economy, and connects folks to a nurturing community."

last dish initiative toronto

"Frites" by Amanda Arlotta.

"Since March, TWRWF have sent out almost $150,000 in gift cards to restaurant workers in the GTA. As the pandemic progresses, the number of people applying for support continues to climb," says Arianne Persaud, founder of TWRWF.

"We have been so thankful for the support to date, but we're [not] done yet. With ongoing lockdowns, we are at a critical point and the Last Dish initiative will help us raise the funds necessary to continue to help restaurant workers continue to thrive."

Lead photo by

Jacqueline Poirier

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One-of-a-kind collectible plates honour shuttered restaurants in Toronto