Featured Image: Britney Gill
Based on the community experience of storytelling and dining, Feisty Feast is merging personal and collective experiences to bring women together in a creative space to both share mutual stories and learn from differences between each other. Entirely free of any judgement or hierarchy, these events give women an opportunity to be unapologetically them whilst indulging in a stunning feast within a beautifully decorated space.
With their next event taking place next week, 11th May 2018, we caught up with the founder of Feisty Feast, Julia Khan Anselmo, to learn about her background and what led her to create this inviting event.
What is the concept behind Feisty Feast?
Feisty Feast is a grass roots event with the spirit of connecting women through atmosphere, food and storytelling. A platform to highlight women in the community and to hold space for storytelling and sharing experiences. The intention is to unite and empower women in the feminine spirit. It has been a volunteer driven event including family members, previous guest speakers, and with many friends and new faces, who reach out and want to be involved. The concept behind FF is to unite and empower women in the feminine spirit and celebrating womanhood and lift one another up.
Feisty Feast is a beautifully curated long table dinner supper where women come together to connect over fantastic food, storytelling and meaningful dialogue. I started Feisty Feast in 2013 after disappointingly ending a job I had working in an art consultancy. I took some time off of working to think about and explore what it was that was important to me and what I spent my time doing. Three major things came up for me and when I started to reflect, they had been consistent from who I always was as a child growing up. I’m a very curious persona and love meeting new people, particularly women, as my mum was a single mother and always took less fortunate women into our home growing up, secondly, I love exploring, cooking and sharing food from different cultures, and thirdly, is putting the first two together by connecting people over food and meaningful conversation.
What were your influences for Feisty Feast?
Feisty Feast was started in 2013 after I was laid off my ‘dream job’. I took some time to think about what it was that I spent my time doing and which was meeting incredible women and learning about their story, hosting dinners, and a connecting people.
I am constantly inspired by women, they are where I find my greatest refuge and support. I really believe that now is our time come together and break the rusty old chains of patriarchy with love, understanding, compassion and acceptance of ourselves and the woman around us.
Tell us a little bit about yourself; where are you from? Where did you grow up?
I am Canadian, I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Both my parents were immigrants who worked very hard to give my sister and I the most well-rounded and worldly upbringing possible in a conservative city like Calgary.
Both of my parents are immigrants to Canada, my mother from Trinidad & Tobago and my father from Lisbon, Portugal and each have inspired and influenced Feisty Feast in a huge way. My mother came to Canada, to avoid an arranged marriage when she was 16 years old, with no money. She courageously built a life for herself in Canada as a young woman. First living in Montreal, then Toronto before meeting my father in Calgary in the early 1980s. Her and my father separated when my sister and I were young, but maintained a friendship. My mother was the bread-winner in our small family, she started her own business and gave my sister and I a beautiful up bringing in Alberta. Her rebellious spirit, high expectations of us, coupled with her fiercely independent attitude was an example to my sister and I that we could accomplish things in this world beyond our wildest imaginations. She was charitable with our home; inviting struggling women and young mothers into our home until they got their feet on the ground and supporting them even financially. My father was a bon vivant, loved dinner parties, being surrounded by friends and new people, and cooking incredible feasts. Calgary, Alberta was and is not the most worldly place to grow up, but my parents strove to bring the world to us, through having an open mind and imagination, food, and education.
What does feminine mean to you?
I think that the word feminine needs re-defining. Traditionally, I think it meant a woman who was fragile, soft, gentle, submissive, dainty and passive. To me, the word feminine encompasses compassion, strength, elegance, courage, feistiness, and grace. Femininity is about accepting yourself, lifting one another up, and celebrating what it means to be a woman.
Do you have any hopes for the future of the event?
Yes! It has always been my ambition to host Feisty Feast Internationally. I just hosted the first European Feisty Feast in London celebrating International Women’s Day and I am already planning another event in London set for early May themed Self Love.
To receive invitations and see photos from past Feisty Feasts, sign up at www.feistyfeast.ca.