Photo credit: Ezra Gregg
Washington’s finest foodies came together Monday evening to raise over $600,000 raised for DC Central Kitchen while sampling food and wine from 75 of the District’s best restaurants. Tasting stations dotted the ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building, where 1500 guests hopped from table to table to try dishes from places like Barmini, Béarnaise, Blue Duck Tavern, Del Campo, Equinox, Jaleo, Kaz Sushi Bistro, Le Diplomate, Oyamel, Ris, The Source, Toki Underground, and Vermilion.
Like that awkward time when two girls wear the same dress to prom, trout seemed to be on everyone’s menu. It was nearly impossible to go two tastings without finding the fish cured, fried, covered in mayo foam, or otherwise served to you in some way. Another trending ingredient seemed to be harissa, a Tunisian sauce with subtle heat made primarily of roasted red peppers, any number of hot chili peppers, and serranos.
The evening’s main event was the chef battle, taking place center stage with some of the city’s best known and most respected chefs: Erik Bruner-Yang Executive, Chef/Owner Toki Underground & Maketto; Bertrand Chemel, Executive Chef of 2941 Restaurant; Spike Gjerde, Executive Chef/Co-Owner of Woodberry Kitchen & Artifact Coffee; and Anthony Lombardo, Executive Chef of 1789 Restaurant. Spike Gjerde, Executive Chef from Woodberry Kitchen, won the chef battle, though judges Tom Colicchio, Rick Bayless, Todd English, and Art Smith all agreed that each chef turned in a spectacular concept.
For more than 20 years, DC Central Kitchen has pioneered a new model of using food as a tool to change lives. We provide nutritious meals to our neighbors in need, equip unemployed men and women to begin culinary careers, and engineer successful social enterprises that advance our mission while creating good jobs for the people we serve. Through job training, healthy food distribution, and local small business partnerships, DC Central Kitchen offers path-breaking solutions to poverty, hunger, and poor health.
This year’s event included a dessert competition, the Cake Battle. Padua Player of “Platinum Weddings” and Food Network fame, and Executive Pastry Chef/Owner at Suga Chef Desserts, won the High Stakes Cakes competition, rounding out the evening with a sweet ending.
For more information about DC Central Kitchen, or to get involved with their philanthropic causes, see http://www.dccentralkitchen.org/.