While epic crowds packed onto the National Mall like sardines for the Concert for Valor, the culinary inclined gathered at Ronald Reagan Building and International Center for the Capital Food Fight. The Capital Food Fight, founded by José Andrés, is the annual charity event held to raise funds and awareness about DC Central Kitchen. For those of you not in the know, DC Central Kitchen provides free culinary training to unemployed men and women who have overcome enormous hurdles, such as homelessness and substance abuse. Over 5,000 nutritional meals are prepared daily from 3000 pounds of donated food and distributed to ‘food desserts’ located within schools, homeless shelters, non-profit organizations, and transitional homes around the District.
(Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for DC Central Kitchen)
The Capital Food Fight is a two headed monster for the culinary philanthropist. The food, which consisted of endless tastes from over 75 of the area’s top restaurants such as Vidalia, The Source, Proof, and Ris, was mind blowing. So many options. My favorite dish from the night was Del Campo’s taste of grilled pork belly and octopus with shishito peppers and smoked caviar chimichurri. Guests were also able to sip on craft cocktails from some of the District’s best mixologists. The guys at Southern Efficiency’s whiskey based cocktail was my favorite elixir of the evening.
While guests nibbled on delightful eats and libations, chef celebrity Carla Hall of The Chew and the iconic Anthony Bourdain hosted the battle royale on the main stage. Frederik De Pue of Table, Tim Ma of Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wall, Marjorie Meek-Bradley of Ripple and Roofers Union, and Javier Romero of Taberna del Alabardero competed in the head to head Iron Chef-like competition and Marjorie Meek-Bradley prevailed as the winner. In the High Stakes Cakes Competition, Pastry Chef Melissa Payne of Couture Cake Creations edged out Caitlin Dysart of 2941, Erin Reed of BRABO, and Linda Rothgeb of Cakes by Linda.
Since 2008, over 550 people have been trained through DC Central Kitchen and are employed with full-time job in the culinary industry. Although the stellar food, the chefs, and celebrities draw attract many, this great cause is what helps keeps DC Central Kitchen’s mission moving forward. With inspiring stories like the video embedded below, it is hard not to participate. In the wealthy city like Washington, DC, it’s tough pill to swallow that there are numerous homeless and formerly incarcerated people that lack an opportunity to survive. Through the vehicle of food, DC Central Kitchen is lending a helping hand to those in need. Please support this awesome organization by purchasing their newly released pickled chow-chow at local Whole Foods, making a $10 donation through the organization’s partnership with Groupon, or on their site. All in all, it was a great night had by all and the event raised over $700,000.
(Courtesy of DC Central Kitchen)