DC has a lot of great food related events throughout the year. So many in fact that it’s difficult to choose which ones to attend and which ones to say “maybe next year” to. But, there’s no better annual food event (in our perhaps biased opinions) than Capital Food Fight founded by José Andrés to benefit DC Central Kitchen. If you’re unfamiliar with DCCK’s mission and work, we suggest picking up a copy of Alexander Justice Moore’s “The Food Fighters: DC Central Kitchen’s First 25 Years on the Front Lines of Hunger and Poverty” in order to better understand the significance of the Capital Food Fight.
Held on Veteran’s Day this year, the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center welcomed more than 1,200 guests, 9 cocktail mixologists, and 75 restaurants to their atrium – each restaurant dishing out samples for the massive crowd. Highlights for us included Art and Soul‘s Pighead and Chorizo Tacos (pickled onion, tomatillo salsa, Angry Chef brand hot sauce), Mango Tree’s Chargrilled Steak Salad (spicy northeastern tamarind sauce), Kaz Sushi Bistro‘s Nigiri of Maguro (tuna), 2941 Restaurant‘s Tuna Tartare (grand marnier aioli, crispy potato) and Rural Society‘s Morcilla Spread on Grilled Focaccia (shaved octopus, sun dried tomato escabeche, and fried parsley).
While the food and restaurants might be enough to convince people to drop some dough on their ticket, it’s the Food Fight itself that keeps guests around for the more than 4 hour long event emceed by the famous Anthony Bourdain from CNN’s “Parts Unknown” and Carla Hall from ABC’s “The Chew”. This year’s competing chefs were Chefs Frederik De Pue of Table, Tim Ma of Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wall, Marjorie Meek-Bradley of Ripple and Roofers Union, and Javier Romero of Taberna Del Alabardero. Chefs competed in sets of two, using ingredients provided by WalMart. Chefs were given a surprise ingredient they had to incorporate into their dishes ranging from beef cheek, Buddha hand, and chow-chow. The real challenge? The chefs were given a measly 10 minutes to prep, cook, and plate their creations for the star-studded line up of judges: Chef Daniel Boulud of DANIEL, Ted Allen from Food Network’s “Chopped”, Chef David Guas from Travel Channel’s “American Grilled”, and Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar. Do you know how hard it is to cook a beef cheek in 10 minutes?!
Tim Ma walked away from the first round as the victor, followed by Marjorie Meek-Bradley in the second round. The two went head to head for their last 10 minute challenge, and while we were admittedly kind of in camp-Ma, we have to give Marjorie a huge congratulations as the ultimate champion.
This year’s Capital Food Fight event raised more than $700,000 for DC Central Kitchen – helping them reach their $13 million annual budget.
We suggest not putting the Capital Food Fight on your “maybe next year” list of things to attend. The experience itself is phenomenal and the cause even greater. If you didn’t make it this year, DC Central Kitchen has partnered with Groupon for an online fundraiser between now and November 30. For every $10 donation made, AARP will match it with an additional $5 making your gift worth a total of $15. Your donation will help DCCK reach their budget that allows them to provide fresh produce to food desserts, daily meals to 10 schools in DC, train ex-convicts and those recovering from substance abuse for work in the culinary field, and daily meal donations to shelters and halfway houses.
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