Capital Food Fight – Amazing Cause, Even More Amazing Food!
Last night, a few ladies from the office and I headed down to the Ronald Regan Building for DC Central Kitchen’s Capital Food Fight event. DC Central Kitchen “turns leftover food into millions of meals for thousands of at-risk individuals while offering nationally recognized culinary job training to once homeless and hungry adults.” Their mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. For the last 4 years, they’ve partnered with famous Chef, Jose Andres in putting on this unique event, bringing in the area’s hottest restaurants and the industry’s biggest talents.
I, along with everyone else in the room, was enamored with Anthony Bourdain, Travel Channel’s No Reservations star. I’ll admit to standing next to him, staring, and not asking for a picture because I was too nervous – what is that? With an amazing line up of himself, Chef Jose Andres; Top Chef stars, Tom Colicchio, Spike Mendelsohn, and Eric Ripert; and other area chefs, including Victor Albisu of BLT Steak, Will Artley of Evening Star Café, and Scott Drewno of The Source; how could you not be star struck?
I think each of us got something different from the event:
Alli – Serious props to all the restaurants who cooked up a heck of a showcase of food for the masses last night. I think there were about 63 participating restaurants from the area, and they each did a bang up job of putting out their most delicious food. Next year, I have one request, please: more veggies!
Best moment of my night? Definitely my five minute convo with Spike, Top Chef alumnus, and owner of We, the Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery. I promise to be less serious, and I’ll give your pizza a second chance
Lauren – Tuna tar tar and dumplings stuffed with assorted meats were a popular offering and none of them failed to impress me. However, the highlight of the night didn’t end up being the food, but the impromptu celebrity chef cook off! Rising to Anthony Bourdain’s challenge, Tom Colicchio took a break from judging to face off against the No Reservations star. With Eric Ripert acting as sous chef for Bourdain and Jose Andres stepping up to assist Colicchio, it was an all star event! Standing next to Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelson to watch only added to the excitement.
Blair – Peter Smith from PS7 did not disappoint. The pairing with a homemade cider was amazing. He did the plating and serving with great fun personality! Always fun to have the chef himself hand you the food with an explanation. Spike’s marshmallow shake was crazy good but a little goes a long way. Spike didn’t plate or serve because he was a challenging chef but couldn’t have been more fun and gracious stage-side. If he does savory half as well as he does sweet then I will definitely try his restaurants. Jose Andres’ “Happy Pig” was far and above my favorite. It looked too simple – almost like an small open face pork sandwich but was far and away my favorite! Jose was on stage so his staff plated and served with the fun and expertise expected from a ThinkFoodGroup Restaurant.
Beryl – The concept is so amazing, but it’s a sad reminder that 47 million people (of that group, 17 million are children) in the US will struggle to obtain food at some point this month.
It was really cool that the secret ingredients for the chef’s food challenges were sustainable and often local ingredients, such as the Applegate spinach and feta sausage as well as the wasabi arugala. My personal winners out of the tasters I tried for non-sweet dishes would be the pork cheek, a meat dish that had a sprinkle of dehydrated kale, and the gnocchi. Creativity wise the pumpkin custard with duck was interesting as was a scallop topping of green powder heapings. The peanut butter and chocolate ice cream was super good as was the chocolate Belgian waffle.
Michelle – My favorite part of the night was the desert section. I had an amazing cupcake from Crumbs Bake. They had five different types of cupcakes, the Good Guy, the Squiggle, the Red Velvet, Cookies and Cream and the Peanut Butter Cup. I picked the Peanut Butter Cup and it was delicious. It went nicely with my peanut butter cup gelato from Dolcezza Artisanal Gelato. I was in peanutbutter cup heaven. My favorite desert, hands down was the caramel chocolate mousse from Co Co Sala.
With all of the sponsors, ticket sales, raffle prizes, and donations DC Central Kitchen raised $500,000 for their cause. It was really inspirational to be there with the talent, the restaurants, the attendees, and the DC Central Kitchen Chefs. Not to mention the free cookbooks we received for signing up with CelebratedChefs. It costs absolutely nothing to registered your credit card. Each time you dine at participating restaurants in Chicago, D.C., San Fransisco, or Seattle, they will make donations to local non-profit organizations. I’ve gone through my cookbook to earmark new recipes to try.