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I’ll be blogging all day about the Capital Food Fight, the annual fundraiser for D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK) held last night at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

All right, let’s deal with the ugly stuff first. Jose Andres, the celebrity chef who first conceived the Iron Chef-like fundraiser for DCCK, was once again supposed to host the event, along with Food Detective Ted Allen. Andres, however, was a no show—-at least in person. He was seen via video at the opening of the Food Fight. Chef Ris Lacoste filled in the void.

Someone told me that Andres had to stay in Los Angeles where he is preparing to open his innovative new restaurant, the hotel-lobby experiment known as the Bazaar. No offense to Andres, but it struck me as a weak excuse. He couldn’t spare one night away from his new baby to support his beloved organization? I e-mailed Michael F. Curtin Jr., the CEO of Central Kitchen, to ask further about Andres’ whereabouts. Here’s what Curtin had to say in response (blame the typos on his handheld device, not the CEO himself):

Jose was indeed held up in LA trying to get that project open. I spoke with him last Friday when he realized he couldn’t make it, and he was truly heart broken. I know they are behind schedule out there and that he has enlisted his full complement of staff from DC to get things going in the way he wants. I think he’s concerned that if he’s not there, the people on the hotel side of the project will force the restaurant to open before he feels they are ready. As you point out, he is a HUGE supporter and continues to d so much for us and this event. But HUGR props to Ris for stepping in at he last minute to fill his shoes. She did an awesome job

On another front, Curtin also had to deal with the loss, at the last minute, of some sponsorship money. He won’t say who came up lame in the donation department, but Curtin did offer this about the situation:

We did loose some pledged sponsorships, but I can’t say we didn’t see that coming with the economy going the way it is. When all is said and done, we’ll do about what we did last year in terms of revenue, and I have to consider that a huge success in the current climate. Wegman’s came on with the same support they have in the past and continue to be a tremendous supporter.