Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity

DC Central Kitchen is America's leader in reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise.
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CJT Class 99 celebrates graduation with a full house

, April 13th, 2015

DC Central Kitchen’s most recent Culinary Job Training class marked the end of 14 weeks of training and the beginning of their future at last Friday’s graduation ceremony.

The Walmart-sponsored class was joined by friends, family, DCCK staff and alumni, and esteemed guests at the U.S. Navy Memorial and Heritage Center to commemorate the achievements of Class 99.

Nina Albert, Director, Public Affairs and Government Relations for Walmart gave the keynote address in which she remarked that it’s not just about hard work, but the courage to go after your dreams that makes someone successful in life.

Class 99 had a lot to celebrate. Current employers include Marriott Key Bridge, Nando’s PERi-PERi, Clyde’s Restaurant, Levy Restaurant, and CulinAerie. Students are earning an average hourly wage of $12.00/hour.

During the course of the program students welcomed esteemed guest chefs Vera Oye’ Yaa-Anna (The Palaver Hut) and Rock Harper (Chef and DCCK supporter) and participated in field trips to L’Academie de Cuisine and Jaleo DC.

Internship partner sites for Class 99 included:
Aramark – American University
Boqueria DC
Clyde’s Chinatown
CulinAerie
Levy Restaurants
Marriott Key Bridge
Nando’s PERi-PERi
Ritz Carlton
Sodexo at Marymount
Sodexo at Trinity
Sodexo at USCCB
Sodexo at Venable
Water and Wall Restaurant

Thank you to the Walmart Foundation, our many guest chefs, and our internship and restaurant partners for supporting Class 99. Without you, DC Central Kitchen would never be able to continue our work creating opportunity in DC. Thank you!

If you missed this graduation, be sure to mark your calendar and join us to celebrate the achievements of Class 100 on July 10!

For more images from this celebratory event, be sure to visit our Flickr page.



Jacques Pépin’s 80th birthday and a cake made by DCCK

, March 29th, 2015

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Women’s Empowerment Class 2 got the chance to test their pastry skills last week while they worked to create one of more than 80 birthday cakes made by culinary professionals to celebrate Jacques Pépin’s 80th birthday on Friday.

The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) honored Pépin at its annual conference, which kicked-off on Friday night with a staggering 80 birthday cakes made by some of the biggest names in the culinary world, including DC Central Kitchen’s culinary students.

DCCK students had the great fortune of working with Willow co-owner and pastry chef Kate Jansen, who volunteered her time to help the class bake, build, and decorate their cake that would be presented alongside works by Spago pastry chef Della Gossett, Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes, and DC-based Paisley Fig Bakery, among many others.

The excitement didn’t end with our cake on Friday night. On Sunday, DCCK was again recognized by the IACP during their awards luncheon where DCCK CEO Mike Curtin accepted the Local Community Service Award on behalf of the Kitchen. The award recognizes the work of a member of the local community who has had an important and indelible impact on the Annual Conference host city.

DCCK was honored to be involved in this incredible weekend with IACP. For providing Chef Pépin’s 80 cakes experience for our students, for recognizing DCCK for our work impacting DC residents, and for the countless other internships, jobs, and opportunities provided by culinary professionals to our graduates – thank you!



7th annual Sips & Suppers raises funds for DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table

, January 29th, 2015

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This past Saturday and Sunday, kitchen legends José Andrés, Joan Nathan, and Alice Waters hosted the annual Sips & Suppers weekend culinary event to raise funds for DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table. Top toques from around the country gathered in the nation’s capital for two extraordinary evenings of fine dining and raised more than $500,000 to support our vital work to help break the cycles of hunger and poverty.

On Saturday, Sips brought more than 1,000 guests to the Newseum to sample artisan and restaurant dishes while imbibing master creations from local mixologists like Gina Chersevani of Buffalo & Bergen, Trevor Frye of Jack Rose, and Chad Robinson of Catoctin Creek. VIP guests enjoyed the opportunity to meet, mingle and have cookbooks signed by celebrity chefs including Carla Hall, Charles Phan and Aglaia Kremezi from Greece, while all guests had the opportunity to enjoy the JetBlue Lounge and the Celebrity Cruises “partyvators” in the Newseum’s glass elevators.

On Sunday, Suppers were hosted at 31 homes across D.C. and Northern Virginia. Guests gathered in the intimate setting to enjoy exquisite five-course meals and wine pairings prepared by the nation’s most talented chefs including David Chang of Momofuku, Adam Sobel of RN74, and Michael Solomonov of Zahav as well as more than 40 of DC’s stellar chefs including Ris Lacoste of Ris, Erik Bruner Yang of Toki Underground, Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar and Mike Isabella of Graffiato.

“We’re thrilled that this year’s Sips & Suppers exceeded all expectations,” said Joan Nathan, renowned cookbook author and co-founder of Sips & Suppers. “It is truly amazing to have the culinary community’s support in our efforts to fight hunger in the district and in supporting the practical solutions that DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table provide.”

Sips & Suppers 2015 marked the 7th anniversary of the event, which was founded in 2009 as celebrities both in and out of the kitchen descended on DC to celebrate the first inauguration of President Obama. For additional information on Sips & Suppers, please visit www.sipsandsuppers.org.

To view images from this year’s spectacular event, be sure to visit DC Central Kitchen’s Flickr page.



Carla Hall keynotes class 98 graduation

, January 15th, 2015

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On Friday, January 10, DC Central Kitchen celebrated with the graduates of culinary job training Class 98 at the US Navy Memorial and Heritage Center. We were honored to welcome Carla Hall as the special guest keynote speaker, who spoke about her perspective on what it means to experience life’s highs and lows, and how one must always look for the upside of feeling down and out.

Seventeen men and women commemorated the end of their rigorous 14 weeks of culinary training at a packed house that included esteemed chef and restaurateur José Andrés, as well as friends, family, and DCCK staff.

Class 98 also marked the sixth consecutive year of the J. Williard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation’s generous support of the culinary training program. Kathleen Wellington, director of culinary sustainability at Marriott International, shared her experience in the culinary field and stressed the importance of being flexible as your career path changes. The requirements of a job in the hospitality sector can change suddenly, and embracing those changes is a vital key to professional success.

Graduate Kevin Smith was elected Class Representative and used his speech to reflect on the growth Class 98 experienced during their time together. Smith reminded the audience that regardless of where you come from, what your background is, or the color of your skin, everyone experiences challenges in life. It’s a certainty that unites us all, he said, but it doesn’t have to define us.

Employers of the graduating class include Ingleside Rock Creek, Giant Foods, Harris Teeter, and Vision of Victor with an average wage of $11.10/hour.

Thank you to all of our generous sponsors who help make the culinary job training program and the success of our graduates possible! If you didn’t make it to this graduation, be sure to mark your calendars for Class 99’s graduation ceremony on Friday, April 10th!



Sips & Suppers 2015 Tickets Now on Sale

, November 24th, 2014

Sips and Suppers

Tickets to D.C.’s culinary weekend extravaganza, Sips & Suppers, are now on sale. Join Joan Nathan, Alice Waters and José Andrés on January 24-25 for two extraordinary evenings of fine dining supporting DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table.

Sips: Saturday, January 24 | 7:30 p.m.

Sips will feature top mixologists and chefs from across the country, preparing signature dishes and drinks throughout the evening. General admission tickets are now available for $95 each.

VIP tickets, priced at $200, are also available and include one hour early access to the Newseum, an exclusive VIP lounge with notable chefs such as Joan Nathan, Alice Waters and Carla Hall, a wine tasting featuring flights from acclaimed local Virginia wineries, epicurean hors d’oeuvres, and a VIP gift bag including a signed celebrity chef cookbook.

Suppers: Sunday, January 25 | 6:00 p.m.

Suppers will be held at more than 30 homes across the city featuring some of the nation’s most celebrated chefs. Toques such as David Chang, Cathal Armstong, and Charles Phan will descend on D.C. to prepare exquisite meals for Supper guests. This intimate setting allows guests to speak with these master chefs, dine on five course meals expertly paired with fine wines from around the world. Tickets for Suppers are priced at $600.

Get your tickets for Sips & Suppers now!

For additional information on Sips & Suppers, please visit www.sipsandsuppers.org. For the latest updates on Sips & Suppers, follow @SipsSuppers or like Sips & Suppers on Facebook.

Sips & Suppers is made possible by the generous support of sponsors, including the Newseum, PNC Bank, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, and Whole Foods.

 



Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie Gives Keynote at Class 97 Graduation

, October 22nd, 2014

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It was another packed house at DC Central Kitchen’s Class 97 graduation ceremony on October 10. Friends, family and esteemed guests joined DCCK staff, CJT graduates, and current CJT students at the commemorative event held at the U.S. Navy Memorial and Heritage Center.

Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie gave the keynote address, during which he spoke about his own story of success and the journey that brought him to public service. Though today the Councilmember is a law school graduate, he faced serious barriers in pursuing higher education. Raised by a working-class family in Northeast DC, Councilmember McDuffie worked as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service before attending college and becoming the first male in his family ever to graduate from college.

Like many of our students, McDuffie knew he was capable of more, but had to seek the courage to try and maintain the perseverance to meet his own potential.

“Class 97, always remember your struggle, but never jeopardize the investments you’ve made.” -Councilmember McDuffie

Sixteen out of 20 Class 97 graduates have already secured employment with an average starting wage of $12.07 per hour. Employers include the newly opened Willie’s Brew and Que, owned by former culinary job training instructor Chef Rock Harper, Sodexo food services at Venable and Howard University, Nando’s, CulinAerie, and Burger Works. The remaining graduates will continue to receive employment support from DCCK, including resume preparation, mock interviews, and job placement.

DC Central Kitchen’s graduation is always a high-energy, festive event that marks the end of a rigorous 14-week commitment our students have made not only to their culinary training, but to the self-empowerment and life skills they need to be successful in their lives and careers.

Thank you to everyone who joined us, and for the investments of our friends and champions that help make DCCK’s Culinary Job Training program a reality.

Check out more great photos from Class 97′s graduation ceremony on our Flickr page.