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Dinner q q q

with strangers program BBQ with 70 Strangers

I love to offer the space for students to meet new people. Let’s share the moment together!

Meet famous party host, UofT Alumnus Cindy Ross Pedersen!

Food Connects People

Dinner Can Facilitate New Business June 9, 2012

Contents 4 - Cindy and the Dinner with 12 Strangers program 6 - Preparation for the End of Year BBQ with 70 Strangers 16 - Welcome to Cindy’s House! 26 - Dinner is prepared 28 - Dinner begins! 38 - Dessert is prepared 40 - Dessert is ready! 42 - Let’s sing with Rudy! 44 - About Cindy 46 - Interview with Cindy 50 - Group shot

BBQ with 70 Strangers

Cindy Ross Pedersen


Dinner with 12 Strangers

On June 9th 2012, the End of Year BBQ with 70 Strangers was hosted by Cindy

Ross Pedersen at her home.

She is a director of the University of Toronto Alumni Association and ongoing volunteer at the University.

Cindy has has hosted several events for the Dinner with 12 Strangers program. This program is supported by the University of Toronto’s Alumni Relations team, the Centre for International Experience and hosted by alumni and friends of the University. The program is creating a hub for domestic, exchange, and international students to socialise with each other, alumni and faculty through a free dinner with homemade food, activities, and engaging conversation. It also offers students a chance to meet new people and build cross-campus connections. While the dinners classically have12 students with a host, Cindy organises larger scale events. For the End of Year BBQ with 70 Strangers, she had seventy students, including twelve helpers, who assisted the preparation, cooking, decorating, greeting and cleaning-up.

Before The End of Year BBQ with 70 Strangers began at 6.30pm, 8 helpers prepared 2 types of salad, 6 types of skewers, and fruit cocktail with Cindy. In addition to melons, watermelons, pineapples, strawberries, many onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, eggplants, mushrooms and zucchini were cut into pieces.

11 pounds of chicken, 6 pounds of steak, 3 pounds of turkey sausage, 3 pineapples and all the veggies were marinated and skewered.

5 3 1 l a t o t S In R E W E K S G I ! e B d a m e r e w



Fruit cocktail with melons, grapes, oranges and papaya

Quinoa with parsley, sunflower seeds and raisins with lime dressing

Greens with hazelnuts, croutons, and balsamic dressing

6.30pm The decorating helpers put out candles and hung streamers giving the backyard lots of sparkle.


BBQ with 70 Strangers


Cindy ls ve tr a

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and seek

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+ Cindy’s neig

ghbour’s Yard

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ffere o r u ghbo


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Cindy and her helpers setting up for the dinner while the skewers are grilled.


illi ng


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Cooking on charcoal


There were many international and exchange students, as well as domestic students, ca Accounting

Business Administration




Book and Media Studies


French literature


Cinema Studies

Electrical Engineering

Global Health

Art History


Energy Engineering

Genes, Genetics, & Bio-


Computer Engineering

Environmental Studies


Biological Anthropology


Finance and Economics

Health Studies

ame tonight. Their study areas are widely different: History

in Finance and Economics


Psychology & Human

Human Biology

Mechanical Engineering



Jewish Studies

Medical Biophysics

Pharmaceutical Sciences


Life Science



Religion & Law

Math and Physics

Molecular Genetics



Mathematical Application


Political Science


Dear Cindy, Your stories are not long at all. In fact, I can’t wait to hear more about them and I am pretty sure that other people feel the same. If you are planning your next trip, Japan is a must visit place! It is beautiful in Hokkaido up north around Sapporo! Qian

Making new friends

Preparing dessert!

a s’more: a roasted marshmal sandwiched between two piec

llow and a layer of chocolate ces of graham cracker





Rudy Silvamer, a fourth-year neuroscience student as well as a singer, pumped up the event with a sing-along.

Cindy Ross Pedersen is a graduate from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce, and major in Computer Science. She tells an inspiring story tracing her life from graduation to a by starting an internet business in the mid-90s then selling it and retiring at 49. She has a passion for travelling, cooking, and exploring cultures. As a Strategic Volunteer she advocates for high impact volunteerism and demonstrates it.


corporate career, then going entrepreneurial

q q www Cindy Ross Pedersen UofT focus @ Volunteering @ Adventures @ Also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest

Interview with Cindy

Q 1. Why would you like to offer a dinner event, in particular?

It’s a great way to give back. I end up with a full range of folks from UofT from first year undergrads to Masters and PhDs, as well as alumni, and their areas of study are vast often covering 40 programs or more. This dinner we even had one lecturer. I find the networking starts even outside my front door and once folks come in the house it’s a riot of conversation about all kinds of topics. Friendships and great connections are made at these dinners. Plus everyone gets fed well. For the international students it’s a chance to see a Canadian home, to practice English and connect with both Canadian students and other international students. And this program brings out all the cooks and foodies so I always have helpers from among the guests who do everything from shop to cook to decorate to greet other guests. I couldn’t put on these large parties without the help and we have such a good time cooking together that the prep time is like a pre-party.

Q 2. What made you start this type of event?

I saw the mention of the Dinner for 12 program and the Holiday Host program in the UofTNews that is emailed out. I was used to putting on parties and my holiday parties are always quite successful so I figured that doing one for students would be fun. And I thought those 2 programs could be combined and I was proven right!

Q 3. How many times have you ever organised a dinner?

How many students have visited your events so far?

My return to UofT started with these dinners. My first dinner was a holiday party in 2009 combining Dinner with 12 Strangers with the Centre for International Experience’s Holiday Host program. A December party with a holiday theme, fireplace going and big pots of stew. Since then I’ve done about 6 parties over 2.5 years, with about 250 guests if I add it all up. And that doesn’t include my Jam Camps where I take a dozen folks in to learn how to make jam.

Q 4. What is the memorable talk that you have had with

the students who came to your place?

I’ve had chats about all kinds of things from starting companies, to choosing areas of study, to discovering who you are and what’s important. I’ve made some great friends, globally. So after so many parties and so many interactions I can’t identify one but would rather say, I am thankful for them all.

Thank you to ev who came and

veryone all the helpers! Cindy


with st udents

June 9, 2012

Text Credit & Editors: Yayo Umetsubo & Cindy Ross Pedersen Photo Credit: Qian Dong & Susan Shah Photo & Album Design Credit: Yayo Umetsubo For more info on the Dinner with 12 Strangers program visit

BBQ with 70 Strangers  

Hosted by Cindy Ross Pedersen Text Credit & Editors: Yayo & Cindy Photo Credit: Qian & Susan Photo & Album Design Credit: Yayo

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