Berkeley Chef Takes Part in D.C. Dining Benefit

Photo: (left to right)
Ris Lacoste (DC CHef, Board of Directors, DC Central Kitchen)
Brian MacNair (kneeling)Chief Development Oddicer, DC Kitchens
Joan Nathan (cookbook author and friend of DC Central Kitchens)
Alice Waters
Mike Curtin (Chief Executive Officer, DC Central Kitchen)
Barton Seaver (DC Chef, board of Directors, DC Central Kitchen)
Ann Yonkers (Fresh Farm Markets)
Raymond Ellis (Driver, DC Central Kitchen)
Aaron Springer, DC Central Kitchen/Courtesy
(left to right) Ris Lacoste (DC CHef, Board of Directors, DC Central Kitchen) Brian MacNair (kneeling)Chief Development Oddicer, DC Kitchens Joan Nathan (cookbook author and friend of DC Central Kitchens) Alice Waters Mike Curtin (Chief Executive Officer, DC Central Kitchen) Barton Seaver (DC Chef, board of Directors, DC Central Kitchen) Ann Yonkers (Fresh Farm Markets) Raymond Ellis (Driver, DC Central Kitchen)

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At a time when fewer Americans can afford to indulge in fancy dinners, hundreds were still willing to pay $500 on the eve of President Barack Obama's inauguration for a benefit dining event organized by Berkeley chef Alice Waters.

Waters, executive chef and owner of Chez Panisse, spearheaded efforts with nine other chefs, authors and artists to organize Art. Food. Hope, a series of 12 dinners held at 7 p.m. around the capital and prepared by top-of-the-line chefs from across the country.

More than $100,000 in expected revenue from about 500 attendees will be donated to food banks DC Central Kitchen, Martha's Table and Freshfarm Markets.

"It's a bringing-together of the culinary and arts communities to support the work of the local D.C. organizations that are working every single day to feed more than 5,000 people," said coordinator Sarah Weiner.

Tickets sold out within 48 hours of the official announcement made in early January, and close to 100 people were on the waiting list, Weiner said.

Brian MacNair, chief development officer for DC Central Kitchen, said Waters' dinner, held at the Corcoran Gallery, was "the most requested."

"(Waters' dinner was) originally slated at 120 seats and it had to be expanded to 170 because so many people wanted to be part of her dinner," he said.

Other dinners accommodated 30 to 50 guests and took place in homes.

Despite the nation's economic pinch, MacNair said people "would pay for the ticket price ... knowing that the funds would go to local nonprofits."

Mike Curtin, chief executive officer of DC Central Kitchen, said that being sought out by Waters was an honor.

"We are never going to feed our way out of hunger, but if the new president and Alice can continue to support organizations like DC Central Kitchen that offer people the opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness, hunger, and poverty, we will be in a better place as a country," Curtin said.

Weiner said the dinner was intended to plant the seeds of sustainability in Obama's administration and show the community's support for him.

"He's been so forward-thinking in terms of direction in going with energy and greening the economy and we hope that he also makes the connection with food and how it is integral in a new green economy."

Tags: BARACK OBAMA, INAUGURATION, ALICE WATERS


Jessica Kwong is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected]



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