Inside “the event we all needed” — the 2022 Capital Food Fight

From the Capital Food Fight 2022. IMage credit: Kate Michael

Who knew DC’s popular restaurants and top chefs were itching for a fight?!

DC’s Capital Food Fight, a deliciously decadent night of competition for a cause, returned last week with an evening of eats at The Anthem. Chef Benjamin Lambert of The Point DC walked away from a 3-round culinary bout with the champion boxing gloves, but the night had other winners, including DC Central Kitchen, which raised $750,000 for its work breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty in the city, and participants, who rolled out satiated from the food and what Duke’s Grocery’s Daniel Kramer called “the event we all needed.”

Cucumber & Caviar from Café Riggs. Image credit: Kate Michael

After years without dining events, DC foodies were excited to sip and sample from more than 60 of their favorite places as well as new venues on the scene, and participating restaurants did not disappoint! Portions were more generous than ever; offerings were unique and flavorful, and the enthusiasm from chefs, staff, and attendees was palpable.

Gazpacho with Shrimp from Del Mar. Image credit: Kate Michael

While guests enjoyed the smorgasbord, the main event on the stage was the Food Fight in which Lambert faced off against Executive Chef Brittanny Anderson of Leni in the final round — after each won their respective opening rounds against Chef Paris “Sassy” Henry of Oohh’s & Aahh’s (stepping in for colleague Chef Oji Abbott), and Cranes Executive Chef and Owner Pepe Moncayo. Composing dishes with surprise ingredients, it was Lambert’s mezcal-poached rhubarb with smashed avocado, blue cheese, and aguachile broth that put him over the top with the judges!

Banana Pudding from Succotash. Image credit: Kate Michael

Speaking of judges — Tom Colicchio, Kristen Kish, Maneet Chauhan, and Andrew Zimmern, didn’t just taste test, they actually also treated guests to their own surprise celebrity cook-off. Mystics star forward Alysha Clark, chef Rocco DiSpirito, and even Mr. National Ryan Zimmerman (and on opening day!) joined in the judging as well. 

DC Central Kitchen will use funds raised for a variety of programs including hands-on culinary job training and bringing nutritious, dignified food where it is most needed in DC.