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.
Instagram Pinterist Facebook Twitter

Latest Updates

Updates for Events

The best DCCK grad story of the year

, November 13th, 2015

Earl pass web story photo

In the days that followed our 100th graduation this summer, one notably inspiring story made its way around the organization.

Earl was a student of Class 100 who came to DCCK from a halfway house after spending 13 years in prison. You can’t miss him in a room — over 6 feet tall with a big build and a long beard, Earl’s smile is genuine and disarming. After incarceration, he was committed to making a career as a cook, and he approached our Culinary Job Training Program with diligence and enthusiasm. You could find Earl at any event that called for Class 100 student volunteers. In June, he even took to the outdoor grills at the Lamb Jam, a tasting event and competition that brings together talented chefs to compete for the Best Lamb Dish, to help one of the chefs keep up with demand at his tasting booth.

To commemorate our 100th graduation, DCCK was fortunate enough to receive a matching pledge of $10,000 from past and current board members, with a goal of raising another $10,000 in donations both at the ceremony and online in the days that followed.

That afternoon, Earl’s family was seated comfortably in the front row. His mother, easily recognizable given her similarly identifiable smile, was emotional before the ceremony got underway. After the announcement of our board match at the ceremony, several guests handed reply envelopes with their gifts to members of DCCK’s Development team.

A few hours later, our donor relations manager came across one particular envelope that contained a $100 bill and a short, handwritten note. “I’ve been carrying around this lucky $100 for 13 years,” the note said. “I don’t need it anymore.”

The note and generous gift was from Earl’s mother. She held on to that bill the entire time Earl was incarcerated, and on the day of his graduation from DC Central Kitchen, Earl’s mother passed on that luck to the men and women who will come to DCCK after him.

Of all of the gifts we received that day, this is the one that matters most. Earl is now employed full-time, making a living wage of $14.05/hour with full benefits as a cook at DC Central Kitchen. While we’ll never know how much luck that $100 provided, Earl’s hard work and dedication made for plenty of luck on its own.  Earl has a job, a family he can spend time with, and a mother whose love for her son is truly unwavering. She retired last week, at a party attended by Earl’s culinary instructors; ending her career the same week Earl launched his.

Thank you to everyone who made a gift in honor of our 100th class. It is a milestone that represents years of hard work and changed lives for over 1,000 men and women who have come through DCCK since 1990.

To Earl’s mother – thank you for believing in your son and for supporting DC Central Kitchen through this heartfelt and generous gift.



Your gift to DC Central Kitchen today gives struggling men and women the tools they need to get and keep a job. Give today to double your impact! A private donor is matching all gifts received before December 31 up to $100,000.

Donate Now

DCCK’s Capital Food Fight™ is back!

, September 30th, 2015

Carla and Jose on stage with crowd

Join DC Central Kitchen at our signature fundraising event and DC’s biggest foodie event of the year, the Capital Food Fight™ on November 12, 2015.Tickets are on sale now! Check out the celebrity line-up, view photos from last year’s event, and purchase tickets at

Join Capital Food Fight™ founder and host José Andrés(Chef/Owner, ThinkFoodGroup) and co-host Carla Hall (ABC’s “The Chew”) at the Ronald Reagan Building to watch four local chefs compete in an Iron Chef-style battle and four teams of pastry chefs compete in the High Stakes Cakes competition.

Presented by Tyson, the Capital Food Fight draws over 1,000 guests and offers culinary indulgences from more than 75 of DC’s best restaurants.

The culinary battle will feature local chefs Amy Brandwein (Centrolina), Harper McClure (BRABO), Nick Stefanelli (Masseria) and K.N. Vinod (Indique) who will prepare dishes with a secret ingredient and compete head-to-head in a live on-stage battle. The battle will be judged by renowned culinary celebrities Anne Burrell (Food Network’s “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef”), Richard Sandoval (Richard Sandoval Restaurants), and Spike Mendelsohn (Bravo’s “Top Chef” and Restaurateur).

Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes” star, Duff Goldman, and Emmy-winning Senior Political Reporter for ABC7 News and News Channel 8, Scott Thuman, will host the Capital Food Fight’s “High Stakes Cakes” competition, created and organized by Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Washington DC Chapter.

Visit today to purchase tickets!

100% of the proceeds from the Capital Food Fight™ benefit DC Central Kitchen to provide healthy food to our most vulnerable neighbors and empower chronically unemployed men and women to trade lives of poverty for jobs and self-sufficiency.

What: DC Central Kitchen’s Capital Food Fight
When: November 12, 2015 – 6:00pm
Where: Ronald Reagan Building – 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC
Tickets: $250, available online at

DCCK’s CEO awarded highest honor from Williams College

, September 22nd, 2015

Mike screen shot (3)

Last weekend, DC Central Kitchen’s fearless leader, Mike Curtin, received a Bicentennial Medal from Williams College – his Alma mater.

Established in 1993 in honor of the college’s 200th anniversary, Bicentennial Medals honor members of the Williams community for distinguished achievement in any field of endeavor. Curtin received his medal alongside four other distinguished alumni during Fall Convocation, for which he was also the keynote speaker.

His remarks moved families, alumni, and current seniors alike as he spoke about his journey and the winding path that brought him to DC Central Kitchen. Curtin stated during his remarks: “Professors Frost and Eusden encouraged me to do something that at the time was a little unusual…they encouraged me to find MY truth, to catch MY salamander; and they – and everything I experienced in and out of the classroom at Williams gave me the confidence to believe I could do that.”

Curtin came to DC Central Kitchen in 2004, drawing on his experiences as an entrepreneur in the restaurant business to expand the Kitchen’s social enterprise program from less than $500,000 in 2005 to over $7 million in 2014. Under his leadership, DCCK’s social enterprise portfolio expanded from a small catering outfit to include full-service catering and contract meals (Fresh Start Catering), locally-sourced, scratched-cooked school meals, and Healthy Corners, our wholesale program that delivers fresh produce and healthy snacks to corner stores in Washington, DC’s food deserts.

“The Kitchen brings people together around a common table, and contextualizes and elevates a dialogue that gives a voice to the voiceless – including those that have been marginalized – and offers hope where there is mostly despair and resignation.”- Michael F. Curtin, Jr., CEO, DC Central Kitchen

Today, the Kitchen has received numerous accolades under Mike’s guidance, including: The Mayor’s Environmental Excellence Award, the Washington Business Journal’s Green Business Award for Innovation, The DC Chamber of Commerce 2012 and Community Impact Award; and DCCK’s social enterprise was named one of the top 10 social enterprise business in the world by the founder of the Social Enterprise World Forum. In 2015 he received the Community Impact Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Everyone at DC Central Kitchen joins the Williams community in congratulating Mike on this well-deserved honor! Congratulations, Mike!

Watch Mike Curtin’s keynote remarks and Bicentennial Medal presentation at Williams College Fall Convocation.

A summer soirée benefitting DCCK

, August 17th, 2015

Are you looking for an excuse to get outside and enjoy the last few weeks of summer? We’ve got you covered! Join DC Central Kitchen for happy hour at the Liaison Capitol Hill’s stunning rooftop pool & lounge on Thursday, August 27 from 6-8pm. Proceeds benefit DCCK!

Guests will enjoy tastes from Art and Soul, Cava Mezze, Centrolina, Mango Tree, and Captain Cookie; signature cocktails from two of DC’s top mixologists – Copycat Co.’s Devin Gong and Buffalo Bergen’s Gina Chersevani; beer generously donated by Caboose Brewing Company and Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, and live DJ entertainment.

Students from DC Central Kitchen’s current class of culinary trainees will also be serving up delicious bites prepared just for the occasion.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased in advance here.

Check out this recent article from DCist to read how our Culinary Job Training program helps chronically unemployed men and women trade lives of poverty for empowerment and self-sufficiency.

Join DCCK at One Eight Distilling on August 13

, July 24th, 2015

Web Story

On Thursday, August 13 from 6-9pm DC Central Kitchen and DC Loud, an organization that promotes local nonprofits and community causes through live music, will co-host “In Good Spirits: From the Kitchen to the Community.”  The evening fundraiser will take place at DC’s brand new distillery, One Eight Distilling.

The event will feature live music from local R&B artist Lamont Bagfeel & Hippie Control and folk group Letitia VanSant & the Bonafides and include a silent auction. Auction items include a $100 gift certificate to Cactus Cantina, 2 inbox field seats for an upcoming Washington Nationals game, a 3-night stay in Exuma, Bahamas, gift certificates to Wonderland Ballroom, and more! Tickets are $20, include a complimentary cocktail from One Eight Distilling, and can be purchased online in advance here. We’ll also be selling food from our social enterprise Fresh Start Catering. 100% of proceeds benefit DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training Program!

Online ticket sales will close at 3pm on Thursday, so buy them early or bring cash for the door!

We hope you’ll take a few hours to come out and support DCCK at this great new spot in Northeast DC.

DC Central Kitchen marked 100th graduation on July 10

, July 13th, 2015


On Friday, July 10, DC Central Kitchen celebrated its milestone 100th graduation at a ceremony held at the Ronald Reagan Building. Sixteen graduates of the life-changing Culinary Job Training Program were recognized for their perseverance overcoming chronic unemployment to begin new culinary careers.

Mayor Muriel Bowser presented a Mayoral Proclamation to the graduates, in which she stated: “I, the Mayor of the District of Columbia, do hereby recognize the achievements of DC Central Kitchen’s 100th graduating culinary class and call upon all the residents of this great city to join me in commending Class 100 and DC Central Kitchen for their efforts to feed the soul of the District of Columbia.”

DC At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman and Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) presented a ceremonial resolution on behalf of the Council declaring July 10 “DC Central Kitchen Day” in the District of Columbia.

Other notable speakers included DCCK Board Chair Emeritus and Chef/Owner of ThinkFoodGroup José Andrés, television and radio host Tavis Smiley, DCCK Chief Executive Officer Michael F. Curtin, Jr., DCCK Founder Robert Egger, and Vice President, Food & Beverage Culinary and Global Corporate Chef of Marriott International, Brad Nelson.

In its 25 years of operation, the Culinary Job Training Program has produced 1,500 graduates. In 2014, DCCK produced 96 graduates with a 93% job placement rate.

DCCK’s 100th Class was sponsored by the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, with unique educational experiences provided by Marriott International.

The landmark event earned DCCK media recognition from DCist, as well as NBC4, WUSA9, and Good Morning Washington.

Be sure to visit DCCK’s Flickr page to check out some great photos from Class 100′s journey!