All About Plate Swap (Including How to Win Tickets)

This 5th annual chef collaboration dinner at Model Milk features renowned chefs from around the world cooking each others' signature dishes to benefit Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids.

Model Milk on 17th Avenue S.W. will host the collaboration dinner on January 20, 2017.

Photograph by Jared Sych


Five years ago, I had the privilege to attend the first Plate Swap, hosted by chef Justin Leboe at his restaurant Model Milk. The event brought five chefs  — three local plus one from Vancouver and Leboe himself — together to cook each others’ signature dishes to raise money for Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids. The event was an immediate success, thanks no doubt to the promise of an excellent meal with an intriguing concept and the deservedness of the charity it was supporting.

Since then, the concept has remained the same, but the event has grown as Leboe has every year extended his reach deeper into the international chef community to attract nationally and globally acclaimed chefs to participate. It’s a testament to the outreach that Leboe does to help build Calgary’s reputation as a world-class food city that this year he’s been able to attract some seriously renowned international talent, including Daniel Burns from Luksus in New York City and Renzo Garibaldi from Osso Carniceria in Peru. Also participating are Vancouver heavyweight chefs Joel Watanabe from Kissa Tanto and Lee Cooper from L’Abattoir, as well as Leboe of Pigeonhole and Model Milk fame.

The host for the evening is Nidal Barake, a Miami-based food writer, world traveler and the co-founder of the app Gluttonomy. Nidal is known in the Latin American community for his passion of gastronomy and reinventing the future of food business.

That’s a lot of stars in the room, but the real star of the evening is Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids, a program that works with the Calgary Board of Education and ensures thousands of Calgary school children receive a well-balanced and nutritious lunch. Thus far, Plate Swap has provided 50,000 lunches to Calgary kids and hopes to increase this number each year, as Leboe says he takes very seriously the responsibility to give back to the community that has afforded him so much success.

The date for this year’s Plate Swap is Friday, January 20, to be held at Model Milk. Tickets are $200 each and include five dishes plus wine pairings. One hundred per cent of the ticket sales go to charity. To purchase tickets, go to

To win tickets to the event, share a photo or description of your signature dish on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #PlateSwap. A winner will be randomly chosen and will receive two tickets to the dinner. The contest closes at noon on Tuesday, January 17.

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