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Alice Waters Starts Sunday Suppers In D.C.

January 11th, 2010 · No Comments · Posted in food news, Sustainability

Waters at the Phillips Collection last year

Waters at the Phillips Collection last year

Would you pay $500 to have dinner with Bob Woodward?

Following successful charity dinners surrounding Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration last year, Alice Waters is teaming with Washington glitterati and chefs to stage private dinners in 15 private Washington homes Jan. 24 to benefit D.C. Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table and their efforts to feed the needy using locally sourced ingredients.

Waters raised $100,000 for the two charities, plus FarmFresh Markets, with a dinner at the Phillips Collection and a handful of homes last year dubbed “Art.Food.Hope.” “Alice and I visited all of last year’s homes (many of them are doing it again this year) and were blown away by how beautiful they were,” said Waters aide Sarah Weiner. ” The space really sets the mood for a meal….”

Woodward and wife Elsa Walsh, who sits on the board of Martha’s Table, are on the list, as are mega-developer Herb Miller and wife Patrice, neo-conservative  thinker Richard Perle and wife Leslie Barr, Floral designer and food gardener Sidra Forman, philanthropist George Vradenburg and wife Trish, and many others.

Dinners are planned around 20 persons in each home and you can indicate a preference for which host you would most like to dine with when you purchase your ticket, although there are no guarantees, said Weiner.

“They get to list their top choices when they buy a ticket, and we will make every effort to match them. However, we can not guarantee this as the dinners are so intimate. All the chefs and homes are incredible, so we feel confident that as in the 2009 events, participants will have an amazing experience…”

Among the participating chefs, who will be preparing the food in the host’s kitchen, are Cathal Armstrong from Restaurant Eve, Todd Gray from Equinox, Jamie Leeds from Hank’s Oyster Bar, Brian McBride from Blue Duck Tavern and Nora Pouillon from Nora. As much as possible, they will be using local ingredients in the meals.

“We have reached out to purveyors that adhere to sustainable methods, with an emphasis on local folks, and asked them to donate food for the events so that all of the proceeds can go directly to the two beneficiaries,” Weiner said. “Response from the community of farmers , distributors and artisans has been overwhelmingly generous. Chefs have been asked to plan their menus around donated ingredients, and many are securing donations from their favorite vendors. All are focusing on local and sustainable foods.”

Among the food donors: Jamison Farms, Heritage Foods, Vermont Butter & Cheese, Diamond District Seafood Company, Capital Meats, The Breadline, Wegman’s, Whole Foods and Cowgirl Creamery. Several local chocolate makers are donating gifts for the guests.

Menus are being paired with Italian wines donated by luxury vacation organizer Le Baccanti, and supporters Terry Theise and Maureen Nelson.

Much of the local organizing has been done by cookbook author Joan Nathan and chef Jose Andres, with a committee of volunteers to handle logistics. Nathan and Waters will be helping with the cooking as well as sitting down for the meal, Weiner said.

If the $500 price tage is a little too rich for you, there is an alternate cocktail event on the same night dubbed “Sunday Night Sips.” There you can sample canapes created by a number of rising chefs: Will Artley of Evening Star Cafe, Heather Chittum of Hook, Mike Colletti of We The Pizza, Brian Lacayo and Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery, Allison Sosna from D.C. Central Kitchen, and Esquire magazine’s “Chef of the Year” Barton Seaver of Blue Ridge. Graduates of DC Central Kitchen’s job training program will be doing the serving, along with other volunteers. And there’s a screening of a Lori Silverbush film, Hungry in America. Tickets are $150.

Sounds like a great food night for Washington. For more details and to order tickets, go here.

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