Behind the scenes at Calgary’s food and beverage men’s charity calendar
“Offcuts 2016”, a calendar supporting Brown Bagging For Calgary’s Kids (BBFCK), featuring 12 of Calgary’s well-known food and beverage men, is released this month. Kevin Kent, of Knifewear, organized this fun project and covered the printing costs.
“Last year, friends of mine created a charity calendar (much like a fireman’s calendar) that raised money for Edmonton’s Food Bank. They sold out of their 1,000 copies in just three weeks,” explains Kent. “I loved the idea and decided to create a charity calendar for Calgary. We thought there should be some humour in the calendar because we are food men, not men usually known for fit physiques.”
The calendars can be purchased at all the locations of the ‘models’, and at a price of only $20, one calendar will provide 20 school lunches (BBFCK feeds about 2,500 kids a day).
Jeremy Fokkens donated his time and talents to the project, and kindly let us have outtakes from the shoots. We caught up with six of the team to find out the stories behind the calendar.
Q: Why did you agree to be photographed stripped down?
Michael Allemeier: It sounded like a brilliant way of raising awareness and funds for a very important Calgary charity. Plus, it sounded like a lot of fun to be part of a project with peers I respect.
Dwayne Ennest: The main reason I did the calendar was because I heard that Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids feeds 2,500 children a day. I could not believe that a city like Calgary had this kind of need, so I jumped at the chance to help.
Jesse Willis: I initially agreed to be a part of the calendar because Kevin is very persistent and persuasive. Once I heard that funds would be going to such a great cause and got the list of some of the other participating “Off Cuts” the deal was sealed.
Q: How did you prepare for the photo shoot?
MA: Both my sons are involved in Mixed Korean Martial Arts. I asked their Sensi to help put together a training program to augment my swimming routine. I feel pretty good about the training, but it was only for a few months.
DE: I did nothing to prepare as I felt a real take on us as chefs was the way to go, and we just had a little fun in the approach.
GS: We actually worked almost the entire night erecting the mountain of Red Rage beer cans, then when we were JUST finishing… half of the wall came crashing down and we had to start all over. The work was DEFINITELY worth it I think, however most people won’t notice it, they’ll notice that it’s actually NOT a white shirt I’m wearing… that’s my farmer tan, ha ha.
JW: I really liked that the calendar showcased real guys in their own skin. In the food/restaurant/beverage industry, we are constantly working to find a balance in enjoying the food/wine we love while keeping our love handles and cholesterol levels in check. We may not all have washboard abs, but we are all passionate and love what we do.
Q: Why did you choose your setting to be photographed in?
MA: As a swimmer, I love the water. Plus, I am a huge advocate of sustainable seafood and awareness programs like Oceanwise. Standing in the Bow River, waste deep with only hip-waders and a 21 lb wild spring salmon for a two hour photo shoot might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but the laughter never stopped. I shocked many early morning joggers as I yelled out “big fish” as my phrase to create huge energy for my shot!
DE: We choose Mona the cow, as we wanted it to speak of open range with a little tongue in cheek.
PL: We shot this in the basement of the Simmons building. A couple of employees accidentally became scarred for life when they saw me in tight pinkies.
JW: Jeremy had the idea that we should replicate our Vine Arts mascot “Thaddeus”, an old-time strongman that travels on a penny farthing and always carries a bottle of wine. While I couldn’t quite match his moustache or pecs, we decided I should balance and pour a glass of wine from a decanter. This was no easy feat, but after a number of takes (and a splash or two of red wine on the floor) we got the shot!
Michael Allemeier (MA)
Pierre Lamielle (PL)
Cookbook author/illustrator, Food On Your Shirt
Graham Sherman (GS)
Tool Shed Brewing
Jesse Willis (JW)
Phil Robertson and Sebastian Sztabzyb
Phil and Sebastian
Photos by Jeremy Fokkens