Entertainment, Food and Drink, Special Events, The Features

Robert Egger Steps Down from DCCK, Jeff Buben Wins 2012 Capital Food Fight

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.”
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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

DCCK’s Hosts 9th Annual Capital Food Fight

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Chef Haidar Karoum wins Capital Food Fight
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

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.

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed

Give Back While Eating

Photo courtesy of
‘panettone inside’
courtesy of ‘willsfca’
The holiday season has arrived, and it’s the perfect time to start thinking about how to give back. It gets easier and easier every year – bring cans to work, send a text contribution, add an extra dollar to an online bill payment – you really have no excuse. Food lovers have a simple way to contribute as well. In the next few months many of my favorite restaurants are teaming up with local charities and coming up with creative ways to raise money. All you have to do is eat. Here are my top 3.

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Food and Drink, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Haidar Karoum of Proof/Estadio Wins DCCK’s Capital Food Fight

Photo courtesy of
‘Capital Food Fight Winner, Chef Haidar Karoum’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Last night the battle between some of DC’s best chefs raged on for DC Central Kitchen’s 8th annual Capital Food Fight. In the final round, chefs Haidar Karoum of Proof and Estadio and Todd Gray of Equinox and Watershed worked with the secret ingredient: lamb. At the end, judges Ming Tsai, Joan Nathan and Ted Allen named Haidar as the champion (he’s the man with the boxing gloves in the above photo).

Chefs Brian McBride and Jeff Black also competed as featured DC chefs. One of the highlights of the night included a surprise battle round with former Top Chef contestants Mike Isabella, Carla Hall, Spike Mendelsohn and Jennifer Carroll working with Idaho russett potatoes as the secret ingredient.

The sold-out food fight raised $550,000 for DCCK’s programs, according to their website. You can check out more photos from last night’s Capital Food Fight here.

Penn Quarter, The Daily Feed

DCCK’s 2011 Capital Food Fight

IMG_0273
‘DCCK Capital Food Fight 2010′
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

It’s that time of year again: Capital Food Fight. On November 10th, four local chefs will battle it out on stage while raising money for DC Central Kitchen.

This year’s competing chefs include Todd Gray from Equinox/Watershed, Haidar Karoum from Proof/Estadio, Jeff Black from BlackSalt Restaurant Group/Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Brian McBride from Blue Duck Tavern. Each chef will compete in a cook-off battle featuring a secret ingredient. Chefs will be judged by a panel including Ted Allen of Food Network’s Chopped, award-winning cookbook author Joan Nathan and host of Simply Ming, Ming Tsai. Last year’s Food Fight included a bonus battle between team Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert and team Tom Colicchio and Jose Andres, which I’m betting they might do something like this again at this year’s competition. Bourdain will be returning as the host and Jose Andres will be serving as the chair of the event. In addition to the friendly chef competition, more than 60 local restaurants will be serving a variety of small bites.

The 2011 Capital Food Fight is at 6 PM on Thursday, November 10th at the Ronald Reagan Building in Penn Quarter. Tickets are $200 and all proceeds go to DCCK. You can follow the conversation about the 2011 Capital Food Fight with @DCCK’s hashtag, #FoodFight.

The Daily Feed

DCCK’s Burger Battle at Harry’s Smokehouse

Photo courtesy of
’8/365 – matchbox mini-burgers’
courtesy of ‘dracisk 365/365′

DC has been in a burger bonanza lately, but this weekend there’s a burger battle that you can enjoy while helping a good cause.

DC Central Kitchen and Harry’s Smokehouse (formerly Harry’s Taproom) are partnering up for a burger cookoff this Sunday, June 12th from 6 PM to 9 PM at Harry’s Pentagon City location. Chefs-in-training from DCCK will compete to make the best sliders for the audience’s and judge’s vote.

Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go to DCCK. In addition to getting to scarf down mini burgers and dishes from Harry’s Smokehouse’s grand opening, you’ll get wine and beer with your admission ticket. A good way to round out the weekend.

Entertainment, Fun & Games, Music

The Winning Ticket: Sound Bites

As a way to say thanks to our loyal readers, We Love DC will be giving away a pair of tickets to a 9:30 Club concert to one lucky reader each week. Check back here every Wednesday morning at 9am to find out what tickets we’re giving away and leave a comment for your chance to be the lucky winner!

Last week we gave you music and a horse race; this week we’re offering music and food from some of DC’s best eats. Enter to win two tickets to the Sound Bites event at the 9:30 Club on Sunday, May 22. Sound Bites combines free food samples from area restaurants with performances by area bands to benefit D.C. Central Kitchen, whose programs help the area’s homeless and underprivileged via meals, outreach, and counseling services. This edition of Sound Bites features music from go-go legends Trouble Funk and area ska godfathers The Pietasters to name a few of the acts that will help you dance off all those tapas, oysters, and empenadas.

For your chance to win these tickets simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between 9am and 4pm today. One entry per email address, please. If today doesn’t turn out to be your lucky day, check back here each Wednesday for a chance to win tickets to other great concerts. Tickets for this event are available on Ticketfly.

For the rules of this giveaway…

Comments will be closed at 4pm and a winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email within 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner.

Tickets will be available to the winner at the 9:30 Club Guest List window one hour before doors open on the night of the concert. The tickets must be claimed with a valid ID. The winner must be old enough to attend the specific concert or must have a parent’s permission to enter if he/she is under 18 years old.

Food and Drink, The Features

Eat for Good Causes: Charity Events Roundup

Photo courtesy of
‘Rows of Desserts’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

You like eating to begin with. That much we know already. But it doesn’t hurt when you can eat good food and support a good cause at the same time.

After the jump, here are three upcoming charity events that incorporate some good food and good causes.
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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
‘Ray’s Hell-Burger’
courtesy of ‘KentonNgo’
It’s been quite a busy week in food!

The food truck/cupcake/small business/personal quest (?) wars continue…and get quite strange indeed. Read Sprinklegate turns food truck war in The Washington Examiner.

Are you always arguing with friends about which burger joint in DC is actually the best? Well, Food & Wine picks two DC restaurants for us as part of its “Best Burgers in DC” slideshow. Their picks: Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington (shocking) and Palena Café.

Agora is adding a new fixed price, three-course lunch menu at $14.99 per person Monday through Friday from 11 AM until 3 PM. You can pick Turkish and Greek inspired dishes like grilled ground lamb and beef kebab with sumac onions & Baklava, along with a choice of non-alcoholic beverage. 

If you really follow chef moves, Top Chef Finalist Carla Hall joins DC Central Kitchen’s Board of Directors. DCCK is also looking to start a Truck Farm. Curious? Find out more here

Executive Chef Brian McBride has tapped Eric Fleischer as the New Chef de Cuisine of the Award-Winning Blue Duck Tavern. Most recently, Fleischer worked as chef de cuisine at Zola in Penn Quarter.

Speaking of PQ, accoring to Penn Quarter Insider, Hill Country BBQ opens on Saturday (or maybe the 17th?). So check it out one of those days or go to U Street’s newest sports bar, Touchdown. TBD reports that Touchdown opened its doors Tuesday in the former space of Momo’s Sports Bar. The bar shows-off old photographs of the Washington Senators from the 1924 World Series.

Happy eating!

Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Allison Sosna of DC Central Kitchen (Part 2)

Lunch at WJA
A healthy lunch: Local apples, whole wheat pasta and a meatball and a white bean salad. Photo by author.

Sosna firmly says “cooking is not elitist,” and that she’s working to turn around this misconception. When you hear her talk about simple dishes, using local ingredients and just getting the most out of what you eat, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could think cooking is elitist. What she likes about food remains simple: how food can heal, how it can make you happy. “Food is the centerpiece of life,” Sosna says. Ah, such an easy message we can all relate to.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Allison Sosna of DC Central Kitchen (Part 1)

Chef Allison Sosna, DCCK
Chef Allison Sosna of DC Central Kitchen. Photo by author.

Right off the bat, Allison Sosna tells me what she’s all about: “My life revolves around food and people.” Of course others in the food industry could say the same, but Sosna’s work as executive chef for Fresh Start Catering at DC Central Kitchen is a little different. Every day she and her team make 600 meals that go to students at a public charter school in Columbia Heights and disadvantaged boys at the Washington Jesuit Academy in Northeast DC.

“I’m a chef, but at the heart of it, I’m more of a food anthropologist,” Sosna says. She works with a niche that needs a lot of attention, so part of her job is talking to the kids, learning about social inequalities and about who’s cooking what at home. She finds a way to connect with the kids and gives them reasons to eat the healthy food she serves. Most often with the middle school boys at WJA, the reason is sports. “You recognize what makes them have fun. So it’s ‘Eat more of this so you can be a better athlete, a better dancer.’ You teach them that there’s a reason for everything they put in their bodies.”

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All Politics is Local, Downtown, Essential DC, Life in the Capital, News, People, The District, The Features, WTF?!

And For Mayor, We Endorse…

Photo courtesy of
‘Mayoralty elections (LOC)’
courtesy of ‘The Library of Congress’

As the countdown to voting day continues, many have asked us here at WeLoveDC just who we’re going to endorse for Mayor of the District. We’ve had a long and exhausting debate on our author email list, and quite frankly, we couldn’t come up with a unanimous choice, much less a majority decision. So instead, we decided to offer up our own endorsements for mayor, in our own words.

You may be surprised at who we picked. Continue reading