Another Capital Food Fight came and went last night with chef Jeff Buben of Vidalia winning the competition. But the big news from last night’s event was that Robert Egger, the founder and president of DC Central Kitchen, is stepping down after nearly 25 years of overseeing the organization. The current CEO Mike Curtin will be taking Egger’s place as president.
“Not only am I leaving DC Central Kitchen, but after 40 years, I’m also leaving DC,” said Egger to a packed house at the Ronald Reagan Building. “I’m going back to the town of my roots, to Los Angeles where I’m about to open the L.A. Kitchen.” The new nonprofit on the west coast will not only seek to replicate DCCK’s success in a new city, but will also “pioneer vegetarian and vegan meals for elders in America,” according to Egger.
Egger reflected upon how people thought his idea for taking leftover food from restaurants and grocery stores to feed the homeless in DC would never work, how some even said it was illegal. Yet two decades later, the thriving nonprofit feeds thousands per day, has graduated 90 classes from its culinary job training program and has 33 campus kitchens across the country. “Thank you for helping this young man’s dream become an old man’s reality,” Egger told the crowd. “I’ll tell you, there’s very few men who have had the honor of working with so many great people, in such an amazing city, to leave such an amazing organization at such amazing heights.” Continue reading →
Four chefs, three judges, two hosts, 60 restaurants and three hours of a throw down, showdown all add up to one of the biggest food events of the year: DC Central Kitchen’s Capital Food Fight.
This year’s lineup of competing chefs include Jeffrey Buben of Vidalia, Enzo Fargione of Elisir, Guillermo Pernot of Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar and Adam Sobel of Bourbon Steak. And they’ll all be judged by a food celebrity panel with Padma Lakshmi, Carla Hall and Andrew Zimmern. For repeat guests, you’ll recognize the hosting duo from years past: Jose Andres and Anthony Bourdain. And of course, it’s all for a great cause–raising money for DCCK’s initiatives such as their Culinary Job Training program, as well as that their meal program that prepares 5,000 meals daily for homeless shelters, transitional homes and other nonprofit organizations.
We Love DC’s food editor, yours truly, will be live-tweeting throughout this year’s Capital Food Fight, so follow along with me @bonappetitfoodi.
Tickets are $200 per person, which gets you drinks and tastings from 60 restaurants participating. The 2012 Capital Food Fight is on Monday, October 8th at 6 PM at the Ronald Reagan Building.
Sunday afternoon the smell of roasting pork bits was wafting through the Newseum as five chefs competed to win at Cochon 555. After rounds of pulled pork, pork rinds, pork infused cocktails, pork belly, pork shoulder, and every other pork concoction and confection you can think of, The Source’s executive chef, Scott Drewno, was crowned the prince of pork. Drewno will go on to compete at Grand Cochon in Aspen this June.
Five wineries from around the country were represented at Cochon, however, there were plenty of pork-inspired cocktails, including a martini with olives stuffed with pickled pig knuckle from Sobel, bourbon cider with pork pearls from Drewno and a smoked ham cream soda from Voltaggio.
Let me just start this by saying that if you haven’t tried Bourbon Steak’s fries yet, please do…but that’s a totally different story.
The restaurant, located in Georgetown’s Four Seasons, hasn’t stopped tweeting since it first logged on back in December 2009. @BourbonSteakDC currently has more than 2,100 followers and tweets about five times a day. The polite restaurant will always thank you on Twitter for coming in to dine, and recently it got be excited about an event I had somehow forgotten about.
It’s 70 degrees out today. But it’s still February, and that tricky March will probably make its entrance with a roar that will force all of us to bundle up once again. And chances are when it gets cold again, you’ll want to snuggle up with a nice big bowl of hot chili.
Here’s a recipe for venison chili (read: you can substitute plenty of other proteins) from Chef Adam Sobel. When I tried the chili, I believe my exact words to Adam were: “I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Do yourself a favor–don’t put cheese or sour cream on it; just enjoy it the way it is. Or you can do as they do at Bourbon Steak, put it on a half-smoke or on a monster of a burger. Continue reading →
Chef Adam Sobel describes his journey to the restaurant industry as one that came about naturally. He was drawn to cooking “like a moth to a light,” he says. “I was 4 or 5 years old and I would be messing around in the kitchen, making nasty concoctions as a joke,” he said. While I’m imagining a miniature Sobel standing over a mixing bowl combining ingredients from his parent’s pantry, he adds that he did indeed grow up to train at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Sobel says he was 18-years-old when he really got passionate and serious about cooking.
Prior to moving to DC to replace David Varley as executive chef at Bourbon Steak, Sobel worked in Las Vegas as executive chef at Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. “DC is like a different planet. It’s very unique–the feel, the people, the way things operate” he says. Frankly, I’m surprised Sobel isn’t more shell-shocked by the move (then again, maybe a cross-country move after living and working in Vegas is a breeze). Before accepting the role fo executive chef at Bourbon Steak, Sobel had several conversations with Varley, “I asked him, ‘Can I make an impact?’ I don’t want to just carry a torch that was already lit.”
Next week DC will say goodbye and good luck to David Varley, the executive chef at Bourbon Steak. Varley has led the restaurant for the past two years and will leave for San Francisco where he will be the Corporate Chef in the Mina Group. Before he jets off to the west coast, I sat down and talked with Varley about his new job and his thoughts on leaving the District. Continue reading →