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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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.

 



DC Central Kitchen Appears on ‘The Chew’

, October 2nd, 2014

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Yesterday, DC Central Kitchen staff, graduates, and friends grew a little bit closer to each other as we shared in the delight of seeing our very own CJT graduate Howard Thomas on ABC’s hit cooking-themed daytime talk show, “The Chew.”

The show dedicated a significant amount of air time to portraying the work of the Kitchen and our graduates. Howard, who is currently the lead production cook at Washington Jesuit Academy for our Healthy School Food program, did such an incredible job representing the Kitchen and sharing his story in front of a live studio audience!

Thank you Carla Hall, Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Daphne Oz and the entire crew of “The Chew” for highlighting our work and our mission to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.

Check out a short clip of yesterday’s episode here!



Capital Food Fight Tickets On Sale Now

, September 8th, 2014

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It’s official! Tickets are now on sale for DCCK’s signature fundraising event, the Capital Food Fight.

A-list chefs, culinary celebrities, and guests will gather on November 11, 2014 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 Walmart, the Capital Food Fight draws over 1,000 guests and offers culinary indulgences from more than 75 of DC’s best restaurants.

Hosted by Anthony Bourdain (CNN’s “Parts Unknown”) and Carla Hall (ABC’s “The Chew”), the Capital Food Fight culinary battle will feature local chefs Frederik De Pue (Menu and Table), Tim Ma (Maple Ave Restaurant, Water & Wall), Marjorie Meek-Bradley (Ripple and Roofers Union) and Javier Romero (Taberna Del Alabardero) 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, Daniel Boulud (DANIEL), Ted Allen (Food Network’s “Chopped”), David Guas (Travel Channel’s “American Grilled”), and Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar).

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.

100% of the proceeds from Capital Food Fight benefit DC Central Kitchen to combat hunger and create opportunity in Washington, DC. Buy your tickets now before they sell out – they do every year!

What: Capital Food Fight

When: November 11, 2014 – 6:00pm

Where: Ronald Reagan Building – 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC

Tickets: $250, available online at www.capitalfoodfight.org



Celebration in Order for Central Union Mission’s First Class of CJT Graduates

, August 20th, 2014

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Last Friday marked a DC Central Kitchen milestone: our first Culinary Job Training class from Central Union Mission graduated! Twelve weeks of hard work paid off for the 10 graduates who joined friends, family and DCCK supporters at Central Union Mission to celebrate their achievements and plans for the future.

Class 1 representative Lee Hylton addressed the audience, his fellow graduates, and the men and women of DCCK’s Class 97, who just completed their sixth week of training, and said: “Every day DC Central Kitchen exemplifies that there are still people who want to help others.” He added, “This program worked for me and my classmates, and it will work for you too.”

Lee, who spent 24 months in prison prior to starting the Culinary Job Training Program, secured a job prior to Friday’s graduation and started working this week at Acacia Bistro in the Van Ness neighborhood of Northwest DC. Other employers of the graduating class include Sodexo at Marymount University and Nando’s Peri Peri; and graduates are earning an average hourly wage of $11.62.

A steady job can mean a world of change for men and women overcoming obstacles like incarceration, homelessness and addiction. Our Culinary Job Training program works with students and alumni to help them secure a good job to support themselves and their families.

DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program would not be possible without the investments of our community partners, including the Capital One Foundation, CityCenterDC, The City Fund, and the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, among others. The Culinary Job Training program always has more applicants than it can accommodate, and partnerships like these create opportunities for us to provide more students with the critical tools they need to break the cycle of dependency and find jobs.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at this milestone event. We look forward to seeing you at 2pm on October 10th at the U.S. Navy Memorial and Heritage Center where we’ll celebrate DCCK’s 97th class of CJT graduates!

Check out some other great photos from Friday’s event!

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Book Launch Party Honoring DC Central Kitchen’s 25th Anniversary

, August 14th, 2014

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DC Central Kitchen invites you to join us on September 18th for a launch party celebrating the release of the new book written in honor of our 25th anniversary year, “The Food Fighters: DC Central Kitchen’s First 25 Years on the Front Lines of Hunger and Poverty” by our own Chief Development Officer, Alexander Justice Moore.

Thursday, September 18, 2014
6:00-8:30pm
Liaison Capitol Hill’s Rooftop Pool & Bar
415 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Come celebrate with us and enjoy:

Tickets are $75 each, and include food, drinks, and a signed copy of “The Food Fighters.”
$40 of your purchase is a tax deductible contribution to DC Central Kitchen

Online ticket sales have closed. Tickets may be purchased at the door.

 

Can’t make the event but want to buy the book? You can find it on Amazon. (Don’t forget to use AmazonSmile to support DC Central Kitchen!)

 

Thanks to our good friends for their support of this celebration:

 

 



DCCK Opens New Baking Corner to Provide Healthy, Whole Grain Snacks and Baked Goods to 35 Afterschool Programs

, August 14th, 2014

Baking CornerOn August 7th we celebrated the official opening of DC Central Kitchen’s new Baking Corner! Thanks to key investments from our friends and partners, and a generous matching grant from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, DCCK is able to bring our healthy baking program to fruition.

Back in April we announced DC Central Kitchen Production Manager William Ferrell’s concept for an innovative baking program at DCCK, for which he hoped to create healthy, whole grain snacks and breads for the afterschool programs we serve. William, who came to DC Central Kitchen in 2010 after being released from prison, was a student in our Culinary Job Training program and now serves on staff as a supervisor in the Kitchen. With a long held passion for baking, and a personal interest area for culinary growth, William realized he could make our snacks for afterschool programs more nutritious and less costly by doing more baking on-site and relying less on packaged, processed foods.

William creatively uses ingredients such as natural sweeteners and avocados to make traditional favorites, like banana bread and cheesecake, much healthier. For the Baking Corner opening, William shared samples of some of his original baked goods recipes, including pumpkin bread with lower sugar content, and whole wheat biscuits. Our guests indulged in his healthy treats while exploring some of the new  equipment purchased for the Baking Corner. Among several items that now make up this new space, William and his team have access to multiple stand mixers and special attachments, a proofing box to help bread rise, a wood work table for rolling dough, and lots of new baking pans.

We can only achieve our mission to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities with the help of our many partners. Because of this support, William, his team, and the more than 15,000 volunteers that work in the Kitchen each year are now able to put his ideas into action by working in this space to create new, innovative snacks and healthy meal concepts for our partners. We’re excited to leverage the talent and passion of our culinary staff and dedicated volunteers to ensure that the afterschool programs for low-income children that rely on our meals receive healthy and nutritious snacks that fuel their minds and future success!

Join us at the Kitchen to check out this awesome new baking space and help put William’s brainchild into action.