From Jane Alonso. Her passion for food and spirits leads her on frequent excursions into Borderstan’s land of bars and restaurants. Email her at jane[AT]borderstan.com.
For those of you DC foodies (and do-gooders), don’t miss the year’s best charity event – DC Central Kitchen’s Food Fight annual fundraiser, hosted by The Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain and our favorite hometown celebrity chef, Jose Andres.
In case you haven’t experienced the Food Fight before, the event features teams of battling chefs on a stage in the middle of the Reagan Building’s atrium. Local restaurants fill the halls surrounding the stage with free samples from their menus, and the wine and beer flows from several open bars.
I’ve jokingly called this event “Chefomania” in the past because of the sheer number of well-known food personalities that you will see at the Food Fight. In addition to Bourdain and Andres, this year’s event will include Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi, Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern and The Chew’s Carla Hall as judges.
The battling chefs: Jeffrey Buben from Vidalia/Bistro Bis, Enzo Fargione from Elisir, Guillermo Pernot from Cube Libre and Adam Sobel from Bourbon Steak. And it seems that every time you turn around at this event, you will bump into a food writer or a local chef (is that really Eric Ripert that just walked by?).
For some, the entrée into this annual foodie prom may be a bit expensive at $200 per person, but the money goes to one of the best charities in America. DC Central Kitchen takes leftover food from local restaurants, hotels, and catering operations – as well as food donated from local farms – and turns that food into 5,000 meals a day for low-income members of the community. The meals are loaded onto a fleet of trucks and distributed at little or no cost to 100 nearby homeless shelters, transitional homes, and nonprofit organizations, saving them money and nourishing their clients.
Most importantly, these meals go out with a message: DC Central Kitchen offers a rigorous Culinary Job Training program for unemployed men and women who want to replace homelessness, addiction, and incarceration with new careers and changed lives. Many of these graduates work at the Kitchen and others are placed at local food operations.
To help fund these programs and create good jobs for their culinary graduates, DC Central Kitchen runs programs that serve healthy meals cooked from scratch in DC public schools and delivers nutritious snacks to corner stores in low-income neighborhoods. The idea is that food can do more than fill stomachs – DC Central Kitchen’s mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.
And if you have extra cash to donate above and beyond the cost of the tickets, do not miss the fabulous auction that takes place on stage at the end of the event. The top offer – dinner for six at 13 local restaurants in the DC area, including Minibar. A friend I brought to the Food Fight last year bid on this fantastic package on a whim and (to his surprise) became the winner of this fantastic prize. I have been enjoying these meals all year, and I can say that it has to be one of the best tax deductible splurges you will find anywhere.
Get your tickets soon – this event sells out several weeks ahead of time.
- Where Am I Going: DC Central Kitchen Food Fight, Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
- When Am I Going: Monday, October 8 at 6 pm.
- Paycheck Pain: $200 per person, $150 of which is tax deductible.
- Say What?: It’s a large charity event and the acoustics are loud in the Reagan Building, so expect some level of noise.
- What am I eating and drinking: Over 75 DC area restaurants have tables with free food to sample, complemented by free wine and beer.