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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Join DCCK on June 4 for #DoMore24

, May 19th, 2015

take 2As a proud member of the United Way of the National Capital Area, DC Central Kitchen will again participate in the third annual Do More 24 fundraiser on Thursday, June 4. This one-day fundraiser is a local movement that encourages our community to contribute to local causes and organizations to solve our region’s most pressing challenges. More than 500 nonprofits that serve in D.C., Maryland and Virginia will participate this year.

There are several ways you can get involved and support DC Central Kitchen in Do More 24:

1. Donate.  As we get closer to June 4 we’ll share the URL that will allow your contribution to support DCCK’s #DoMore24 fundraising efforts.

2. Come to our event! On Thursday, June 4 from 5-7pm, DCCK will host our very own #DoMore24 happy hour at the Gordon Biersch located in Gallery Place (900 F Street, NW). Enjoy free passed appetizers and proceeds from the “charity keg” benefit the campaign. Come get some free swag, eat and drink with friends, and support Do More 24!

3. Tell your friends! Invite your personal networks to join us on June 4! The more the merrier.

3. Keep following us! While we’re on several social platforms, most of our #DoMore24 updates will live on Twitter. Retweets welcome!

As always, thank you for supporting DC Central Kitchen. We hope you’ll join us on June 4 and give where you live.

For more information on Do More 24 visit the event website.

 

 

 



DC Central Kitchen serves up 108 dishes in 3 hours for the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge

, May 17th, 2015

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For the fourth year in a row, DC Central Kitchen’s school foods team was chosen to prep, cook, and plate more than 100 dishes based on recipes submitted by young people in all 50 states. The catch? It had to be done in a mere three hours!

First Lady Michelle Obama, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Education teamed up again this year to create the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ State Dinner – a competition that engages kids ages 8-12 in creating an original, healthy recipe. Finalists’ recipes were cooked and plated by DCCK on May 15th for the official judging, and one winner from each of the 50 states will be selected and have the opportunity to attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House in July.

It took more than a week’s worth of planning to prepare for last week’s event, which included recipes like sriracha shrimp over quinoa with vegetables, a sweet turkey chili with kidney beans, and fish tacos. Judges included Debra Eschmeyer of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program, representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture, as well as two kid graduates of Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters class.

DC Central Kitchen’s culinary team while busy in the week’s leading up to the judging, were well-suited to cook and plate the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge kid-created recipes. As the primary school food provider for 10 DC schools, DC Central Kitchen knows a thing or two about developing meals kids will actually eat. From our Fresh Feature Friday taste-testing activity that engages young people in their very own lunchtime ‘food democracy,’ to the 6,300 locally-sourced, scratch-cooked, healthy meals served every day to kids in DC’s low-income communities – DCCK has what it takes to meet the incredible task of assembling more than 100 healthy recipes in a short period of time.

You can learn more about our school foods program in our latest annual report.



DCCK helps kick off 20th season of the USDA’s Farmers Market

, May 4th, 2015

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On Friday, DC Central Kitchen joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo at the opening ceremony of the USDA Farmers Market. Located near the National Mall on 12th Street and Independence Ave SW, the market now includes more than 30 vendors and is open every Friday from 9am to 2pm through October 30, 2015.

The USDA Farmers Market plays an important role in creating economic opportunities for local farmers, and DCCK was honored to be a part of this event that celebrated that relationship. In the last fiscal year alone, DCCK invested $153,378 in local farms by purchasing more than 200,000 pounds of produce for our meals.

In addition to our local purchasing power, DCCK often gleans from DC area Farmers Markets, collecting leftover produce and unsold product that we can process with the help of volunteers in our industrial kitchen located just blocks from the United States Capitol. We will continue to glean product from the USDA Farmers Market this year as well.

To commemorate our longstanding relationship between DC Central Kitchen and the USDA Farmers Market, returning vendor Great Harvest Bread donated 100 loaves of honey whole wheat bread to DCCK after the opening ceremony.

If you haven’t checked out the stands at 12th and Independence, be sure to drop this season and support our local farmers!

 



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.