Sign-up for Our Email Newsletter
News for Events
Adults who were unemployed, in prison, or homeless just a few months ago are cooking their way to success through DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training Program. Their first challenge? Whipping up empanadas that will be judged by professionals in the restaurant industry.
The Culinary Job Training Program is just one of the DC Central Kitchen programs that benefits each year from Sound Bites, an outdoor food and musical festival on May 19 at the 9:30 Club. The event will feature dishes from such notable restaurants as El Centro, Bar Pilar, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, The Hamilton, and many more.
Beyond the event, restaurants featured at Sound Bites are getting involved in other ways. Chef Anthony Lombardo from 1789 and Lori Scott, Sales & Marketing Manager from Gordon Biersch, will meet students and provide career advice during the students’ cook off on May 8. Lombardo is an active supporter of the Culinary Job Training Program and Gordon Biersch recently raised $7,800 for DC Central Kitchen from their Navy Yard location opening.
To prepare for the cook off, students, who work in teams, are expected to research empanada recipes and bring them to team members for collaboration. Teams have two days to choose, practice, and tweak the dish for the competition.
The cook-off occurs during week six of the 14-week program, which trains students for careers in the food industry, including all facets of work in a professional kitchen. Additionally, students attend self-empowerment sessions and graduates are assisted in an intense job search to obtain full-time employment at local restaurants, hotels, caterers, and other hospitality businesses.
“We couldn’t do our work without our partners in the restaurant industry,” said Paul Day, Communications Manager for DC Central Kitchen. On April 24, chefs from four participating Sound Bites restaurants visited DC Central Kitchen on Heritage Day, a hands-on cooking demonstration that provides culinary skills and career guidance to students in the program.
“This program provides a unique opportunity to encourage an open dialogue about personal challenges and then we help the students develop strategies for dealing with them,” said Marianne Ali, Director of Culinary Training. “We use food preparation to prepare students for future careers, but also to teach life skills.”
For students like Shania, the program provides a unique opportunity for growth. “It has been challenging in every way,” she said. “It’s helping me with the constant battle to break out of my old patterns.”
For others, the program teaches discipline. “I’ve learned to accomplish a lot of things, like being more responsible, and to not let my attitude disrupt my future,” said Lawrence. “I am learning how to ask for help.”
From the folks who brought us Capital Food Fight, look out May 19th for a local music festival with free tastes from 25 of DC’s best restaurants, all for a good cause. Sound Bites, D.C. Central Kitchen’s annual food and music fest, will take over the entire block outside of the 9:30 Club with food tastings and a mixology competition. Artists will play both inside the legendary 9:30 Club and will also entertain outside during the food fest. Tickets to Sound Bites are going fast. All proceeds benefit DC Central Kitchen, a national leader in using food as a tool for community empowerment.
DC Central Kitchen’s Festival of Music, Food, and Change
Sunday, May 19th 1:00 pm
At the 9:30 Club, 815 V Street, N.W., Washington DC.
Tickets $40 available online at www.soundbitesdc.org or the 9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion box offices.
Music at this year’s event include Deathfix (Brendan Canty of Fugazi, Rich Morel, Devin Ocampo of Faraquet and Mark Cisneros of Medications), DJ Will Eastman, Kid Congo and his Kid Congo Power Hour, The Razz, Rich Morel’s Hot Sauce, and Batala. There will also be a cocktail competition involving DC’s hottest mixologists from The Gibson, Birch & Barley, Black Jack, and Bar Pilar. And of course, all-you-can-eat food tastings from dozens of the area’s favorite food trucks and restaurants including:
- Bar Pilar
- Borinquen Food Truck
- Buffalo and Bergen
- Clyde’s Restaurant Group
- H & Pizza
- Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
- Pizzeria Orso
- Rappahannock River Oysters
- Red Apron Butcher
- Sticky Fingers Bakery
- Taco Bamba/Del Campo
- Todd Gray’s The Muse Café
With more to come…
On Monday, we brought together over 300 friends at The Hamilton Live to say goodbye to DC Central Kitchen Founder Robert Egger as he leaves DC to start L.A. Kitchen. Among the night’s highlights, Robert was presented the first ever $1 million dollar grant from the AARP Foundation to start his work in L.A. and January 20th was proclaimed “Robert Egger Day” by the DC Council. Our speakers gave him a tremendous send off. Here are some quotes from that night:
Dan Glickman named Robert “one of the great humanitarian entrepreneurs.” Glickman also cited the Talmud teaching that “whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved the entire world.” By that measure, Glickman figured, “Robert Egger has saved the world over and over and over again.”
Barton Seaver thanked Robert for “teaching a generation of chefs that the act of feeding is an act of principle and an act of honor.”
Brendan Canty, on Robert’s ‘punk rock attitude,’ cited Robert’s ability to “talk to everybody at DC Central Kitchen but never talk down to anybody. That’s punk rock.”
Christoph Green on the Kitchen’s job training program: “The commitment the CJT staff put into their work,” he said, “was unlike anything I’d seen in my life. That comes from Robert. To him, every single person is valued and important.”
Jose Andres: “Thanks to your teaching and your example, I know what my destiny is.” Also: “DC Central Kitchen is the greatest melting pot restaurant in the history of mankind.”
Maxine Baker of the AARP Foundation on the foundation’s biggest single gift in its history: a $1 million contribution to LA Kitchen: “Aren’t you glad you answered my call, Robert?”
Egger himself: “I get way too much credit. I am only a reflection of this amazing city.” Also, on the kitchen’s model and success, “It was all here. All I did was move the pieces around a little bit.”
Changing Eating Habits
Our innovative and thoughtful way of preparing healthy meals at DC Public Schools has led to solid returns. The kids are eating healthier every day and bringing those healthy habits home.
Building Partnerships with Small Businesses
Through Healthy Corners, we’ve partnered with 30 corner stores in Wards 5, 7, and 8 to provide fresh produce and healthy snacks at affordable prices. Not only are we investing in these stores and providing a new business opportunity, but we’re engaging the store owners to become crucial champions of change in their communities.
We’re also investing in local farms and buying much of our produce locally. Our Farm-to-School initiative engages farmers to become part of the solution by providing much of the healthy produce we serve.
Combating Childhood Hunger by Providing Three Square Meals
Together, our Healthy School Food initiative and Healthy Returns effort, which delivers meals and snacks to after school programs and summer camps, give kids healthy, scratch-cooked meals three times per day. And these meals are packed with fresh local produce, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Educating the Community
With our Truck Farm, school cooking demos, and community outreach efforts, we’re educating the entire community about nutrition. Last year, we educated over 9,800 individuals with hands-on strategies for healthy eating and an additional 2,300 children through the Truck Farm, an innovative traveling edible exhibit that teaches kids where food comes from.
You can be part of this success. Make a contribution this holiday season to promote health and combat hunger in DC neighborhoods.
The hustle and bustle of the holidays inspire us to connect with our family, coworkers, friends – and for many of us, our community. At DC Central Kitchen, gifts of charitable donations and volunteer time keep our life-changing programs thriving all year long. There are many ways you can get involved this holiday season.
Workplace Holiday Parties
Several local organizations have gotten creative with their fundraisers, holding karaoke parties, silent auctions, and friendly, inter-departmental competitions to spice up their workplace giving. Check out our “Give at Work” page for fun, interactive ideas for you to host your very own “PhilanthroParty” at work, or contact Abby Elsener at (202) 789-5979 ext. 100, or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Honorariums at Holiday Parties
If you’re already hosting a holiday party, consider asking guests to make a donation in honor of DC Central Kitchen in place of a gift.
Changing your annual donation to a monthly donation is also a fantastic way to support DC Central Kitchen throughout the year. Not only will you have the benefit of easy, automated giving, you’ll receive special recognition in our annual report. And more importantly, we will have your guaranteed support every month.
Finally, Thanksgiving offers several unique opportunities for donating turkeys, holding a food drive, or volunteering. We are committed to providing thousands of traditional Thanksgiving meals to our partners and clients each year, and your support is vital to pulling it off! If you’re interested in hosting a food drive or collecting other goods for donation this Thanksgiving, please visit our “Donate Food” page to learn more or contact Amy Bachman at 202-400-2806 or email@example.com.
And, as always, we need volunteers in our kitchen 365 days a year – holidays are certainly no exception! Visit our volunteer page to learn more and book a spot for you and your family today! We especially need help in January after the holiday season, so book your time now!