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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DC Central Kitchen earns national school lunch award

, October 15th, 2015

Golden Carrot 2

On Tuesday, DC Central Kitchen was presented with a Golden Carrot Award and a $2,015 grant from the Physicians Committee. The Golden Carrot Awards, established in 2004, recognizes food service teams in both public and private school districts doing exceptional work to improve the healthfulness of school lunches.

During the spring 2015 semester, DCCK participated in a plant-based pilot program at Walker Jones Education Campus – one of 10 schools served by DC Central Kitchen – where students were introduced to six different plant-based vegan entrées. The most popular meals—chili, pasta with chickpeas, barbecue tofu bites, and veggie burgers—will make their way into the regular lineup as daily vegetarian options at Walker Jones and in the nine other district schools where DC Central Kitchen is the food service provider.

“Providing students with exposure to new foods is always a fun challenge. We see students we first started working with as kindergartners now graduate as eighth graders with a new palate and appreciation for fresh, healthful foods.”- Katie Nash, R.D., L.D., School Food Program Manager, DC Central Kitchen

Receiving the Golden Carrot Award reinforces DC Central Kitchen’s unique approach to school food. Each of the more than 6,300 daily meals prepared for DC schoolchildren are made from scratch and contain at least two local ingredients. Our popular vegetable democracy taste tests, “Fresh Feature Fridays,” allow students vote on vegetables prepared their favorite way and see it on their lunch menu the following month.

At DC Central Kitchen, we are proving that healthy, scratch-cooked meals can be enjoyable for children, affordable for school districts, and valuable for teachers who need children to be nourished and focused.

To learn more about the Golden Carrot Awards visit

Smart partnerships boost social enterprise revenue

, August 18th, 2015

Cheese plate

Over the last year, our catering business Fresh Start, has honed its focus on ongoing contracts with local businesses. These partnerships not only provide steady revenue for DC Central Kitchen, but also provide stable hours for our catering staff, all of whom are graduates of our Culinary Job Training program. These relationships with local businesses mean our operations never come to a standstill, even when one-time catering events are slow.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’re offering around town:

Ritz Carlton: Healthy granola bites, which the hotel offers as an in-room amenity for guests.

Good Food Market: Seasonal prepared foods for store customers, including salads, pasta salads, and meals like rice and beans, turkey meatloaf, and veggie lasagna in individual and family sized portions.

One Eight Distilling: Packaged nut mixes that the distillery sells as snacks during their weekend tour and tastings.

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.

14 weeks of training and a lifetime of change

, July 24th, 2015


You may have been one of the 500 DC Central Kitchen supporters who came out to the Ronald Reagan Building on July 10 to witness our 100th class graduate from the Culinary Job Training Program. These men and women were visibly empowered by their experience to make a change in their lives, but what wasn’t demonstrated on that commemorative day was their success in applying their skills – in the kitchen and in life – to secure employment. As of July 24, more than half of Class 100 had secured jobs, with the remaining in the final stages of their job search – completing interviews and accepting offers.

DC Central Kitchen prepares our students for their future and helps create path of stability. Our dual classroom focus on personal empowerment and culinary skills is further supported by a guided job search process and mock interviews conducted by our workforce development team. Last year at DCCK, we saw 96 students graduate with a 93% job placement rate.

Current employers of Class 100 include Occasions Caterers, Le Pain Quotidien, MISFIT Juicery, Café Kindred, Calvary Women’s Services, Nando’s Peri-Peri, and DC Central Kitchen.

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!