Joan Nathan, an authority in Jewish cooking and author of a number of cookbooks; Alice Waters, chef and owner of Chez Panisse, a famous restaurant in California known for their use of local, organic ingredients; and José Andrés, owner of Oyamel, Minibar, China Chilcano, and a number of other popular DC restaurants… What do these three have in common?
They are the founders of one of DC’s largest fundraisers to help serve those in need of food. The three entrepreneurial chefs looked for organizations who could help them with this worthy cause, quickly partnering with Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen. Now, their brainchild Sips & Suppers raises over $500,000 to help provide meals to food shelters, at risk youth, halfway houses, and communities in need.
Sips & Suppers started eight years ago with a phone call from Alice Waters to Joan Nathan. The two discussed their strong desire to give back to the community, and the nation. Joan couldn’t think of a better place to set an example and begin an endeavor other than at our nation’s capital. Sips & Suppers started off as a small gathering of people, and over the years has quickly grown into a two day event. The first day is the public event, “Sips,” which takes place at the Newseum on January 23rd, and the second day is the “Suppers,” which occurs in private homes throughout DC, featuring celebrated chefs, master mixologists, and culinary artisans. This event, and the money raised, will support the charitable work of DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table.
A number of DC celebrated chefs have been with Sips & Suppers since the beginning.
But why do DC’s finest in the food service industry participate?
“It is important as culinary professionals to use our skills to give back to the community,” explained Centrolina owner and chef Amy Brandwein. “These causes are important, and that’s why I do it.”
“Joan called me and it’s fun,” said Ris’ Ris Lacoste. “Martha’s Table and DC Central kitchen are two great wonderful organizations.”
“I have been part of this since the first dinner, eight years ago,” Masseria owner and chef Nicholas Stefanelli shared. “It’s a great cause to make money and serve people food. Gives me a chance to give back to the community the things that I do as a professional.”
“First reason was because Nic called me,” admitted Kaz of the eponymous Kas Sushi Bistro. “Second reason, I believe in DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table. I know these organizations and I believe in them, and I volunteer here and chop vegetables with them. They do a great job and it’s a great cause.”
Hearing stories of some of DC’s celebrated chefs was truly inspiring. They can be found cleaning and chopping vegetables right beside volunteers, recovering addicts, and students in the DC Central Kitchen culinary program, who prepare more than 5000 meals daily to be sent out to support the DC community.