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.”