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, Night Life, Penn Quarter, The Daily Feed

Cuba Libre Coming to DC

Photo courtesy of
‘Mojito’
courtesy of ‘Katayun’

Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Orlando – now DC will get its own taste of Old Havana when Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar opens at 9th & H Streets NW this May. I’m particularly excited by this news as Cuba Libre is known for its large rum selection featuring over 75 Latin American varieties. Will this mean that the naysayers who are calling for the death of the mojito will be proven wrong? We’ll see, as Cuba Libre is also known for this summery cocktail with 15 variations to choose from… at the very least, I’ll be happy to sip a Cafe Cubano after dinner!

The food menu will be overseen by Chef Partner Guillermo Pernot, 2002 winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Concept chef for the Cuba Libre restaurants since 2006, he’s said to be inspired to create dishes as if Castro had never come to power. Indeed, that pretty much sums up the restaurant’s concept – to celebrate 1950′s Old Havana in every way. Continue reading