The rest of the non-profits around the metro area — you know, the ones that don’t have their hand in Haitian earthquake relief — must feel like the location scout for Avatar. Really damn underappreciated.
But in this economy, many non-profits are getting hit with a double whammy: The need for their services has increased, while their donations have stagnated, if not dropped. That’s in part why José Andrés, Joan Nathan, and Alice Waters have teamed up to host this weekend’s Sunday Night Suppers and Sunday Night Sips. (Tickets are available here.)
These intimate, celebrity-chef fundraisers are actually a reprise from last year’s Art. Food. Hope. dinners, which were tied to the inauguration. A year ago, the meals raised more than $100,000 for D.C. Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table.
D.C.-based cookbook author Nathan explains this year’s expanded focus to Y&H:
Alice [Waters] was looking for a way to bring the issues of sustainability, hunger, and nutrition to the fore during the Inauguration. She asked me which local non profits would benefit from this. And we decided to have these dinners at people’s homes to benefit Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen. They were such a success that we decided to repeat them this year with an increased emphasis on hunger. We also added Sunday Sips, a cocktail party so that younger people who are interested in these issues could contribute ($125) and also meet many like minded individuals while eating and great food and wine.
It’s a good thing that the organizers added the Sunday Night Sips. Because even at $500 a head, the Sunday Night Dinners are almost sold out. As of this morning, there were only 10 seats left.
It’s easy to understand why the dinners are popular: Just check out the list of participating chefs below. Now imagine one (or more) of them cooking for you at someone’s home in D.C. Lots of people would shell out good money for that, even if it weren’t tied to charity.
The Sips event is a little less pricey at $125 per person, and its focus is on youth. Here’s a description of the event and its participants:
“Sunday Night Sips.” There you can sample canapes created by a number of rising chefs: Will Artley of Evening Star Cafe, Heather Chittum of Hook, Mike Colletti of We The Pizza, Brian Lacayo and Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery, Allison Sosna from D.C. Central Kitchen, and Esquire magazine’s “Chef of the Year” Barton Seaver of Blue Ridge. Graduates of DC Central Kitchen’s job training program will be doing the serving, along with other volunteers. And there’s a screening of a Lori Silverbush film, Hungry in America.
The list of participating chefs for the Sunday Night Suppers:
- Julian Medina (Toloache) and Kaz Okochi (Kaz Sushi Bistro)
- Alice Waters (Chez Panisse) and Jean Pierre
- Elisabeth Bourgeois (Le Mas Tourteron in Gorde, France ) and Robert Weland (Poste)
- Todd Gray (Equinox) and Cesare Lanfranconi (Spezie)
- Michel Richard (Citronelle and Central)
- Gabriel Kreuther (The Modern in New York)
- Nicholas Stefanelli (Bibiana)
- John Cochran and Sidra Forman (formerly of Rupperts) with Joan Nathan (cookbook author) and Bill Yosses (pastry chef from the White House)
- Charles Phan (The Slanted Door) and Lien Lo
- Michel Nischan and Nora Pouillon (Restaurant Nora)
- Brian McBride (Blue Duck Tavern) and Ariane Daguin (D’Artagnan)
- Katsuya Fukushima (THINKfoodGROUP)
- Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve)
- Jeffrey Buben (Bistro Bis) and R.J. Cooper (Vidalia).