The Power of Food was a great evening with José Andrés and friends celebrating the opening of LA Times Food Bowl. Los Angeles is a city rich in culture, food, community spirit, and resilience. This event is a conversation on the power of food and its impact in our communities, while showcasing rising sous chefs in a two-segment cook off. L.A. Kitchen brought four of Los Angeles’ best sous chefs together to showcase their culinary talent, creativity and ability to think on their feet. Inspired by Jose’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico, each chef was challenged to create a memorable dish out of everyday ingredients readily available in a disaster relief situation. The participating chefs were given the opportunity to join the World Central Kitchen chef relief team. There was a pre-event reception with dinner, drinks, and exhibitor tasters. L.A. Kitchen hosted this event and also provided dinner.
The evening was presented by World Central Kitchen founder, and 2018 James Beard Humanitarian Award recipient, José Andrés and Times restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold. Hosted by the L.A. Kitchen.
About the Celebrities:
José Andrés (Chef/Owner,ThinkFoodGroup, Somni, The Bazaar by José Andrés, Founder, World Central Kitchen and Board Chair, L.A. Kitchen), Jonathan Gold (Food Critic, LA Times), Robert Egger (Founder, L.A. Kitchen, DC Central Kitchen, Campus Kitchen), Zooey Deschanel (Actress & Founder, The Farm Project), Ron Finley (The Ron Finley Project), Nyesha Arrington (Executive Chef, Native LA), Tim Kilcoyne (Executive Chef, Scratch Sandwiches), AlexGranados (Sous Chef, Native LA), Manuel Villagomez (Sous Chef, Broken Spanish), and more to be announced!
Named James Beard 2018 Humanitarian of the Year, José Andrés is an internationally recognized culinary innovator, author, educator, humanitarian, and the Chef/Owner of ThinkFoodGroup, Somni & two Michelin starred minibars by José Andrés. José is a committed advocate of food and hunger issues and is known for championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy. In 2012, Andrés formed World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that provides smart solutions to hunger and poverty by using the power of food to empower communities and strengthen economies. Together with World Central Kitchen and #ChefsforPuertoRico, Andrés served over 3.3 million meals in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017. He has earned numerous awards including the 2015 National Humanities Medal. Andrés’ work includes his role as the Chair Emeritus of L.A. Kitchen, founded by Robert Egger; awards and distinctions including the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from International Association of Culinary Professionals and the 2015 National Humanities Medal.
Jonathan Gold is the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize in criticism in 2007 and was a finalist again in 2011. A Los Angeles native, he began writing the Counter Intelligence column for the L.A. Weekly in 1986, wrote about death metal and gangsta rap for Rolling Stone and Spin, among other places, and is delighted that he has managed to forge a career out of the professional eating of tacos.
Robert is the founder and CEO of L.A. Kitchen. He has been a leader in the food recovery/job training/social enterprise movement since 1989 when he founded the D.C. Central Kitchen, which he led for 24 years. Collectively, these businesses have used donated food to produce over 40 million meals that helped over 1,600 men and women gain full-time employment. Robert is an award winning author (Begging for Change, HarperCollins) and a sought after speaker on subjects ranging from innovation, leadership, the role of nonprofits, and social enterprise.
Armed with a shovel, some soil, and seeds, Ron Finley has come to be known as the “Gangsta Gardener” and his unexpected tactics have made him one of L.A.’s most widely known activists. Frustrated by his community’s lack of access to fresh, organic food, Finley inadvertently started a revolution when he turned the parkway in front of his South Central L.A. home into an edible garden in 2010. Ron’s goal was simple; bring healthy food to an area where there was none. This made him see first-hand how gardens build communities and change people’s lives. This experience blossomed into a quest to change how we eat, teaching youth that they have the capacity to design their own lives and transform culture. Based in LA, Ron founded The Ron Finley Project, which has ignited a horticultural revolution worldwide. He wants the world to know that if you change your food, you change your life!
Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award and Grammy Award nominee and Critics’ Choice Award winner, Zooey Deschanel, is an entertainer in every sense of the word, bringing the classical leading lady back to the modern audience with her old-fashioned charm. Lauded as “timeless,” “vintage” and “ethereal,” Deschanel’s starring roles in “(500) Days of Summer”, opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and “Yes Man,” opposite Jim Carrey, cemented her place as a mainstream presence with a handle for nuance.
Zooey recently started The Farm Project with her husband Jacob Pechenik; an endeavor to help reconnect people to their food. Among other initiatives, they co-produced the show Your Food’s Roots along with ATTN: Media reaching over 20 million views, and growing.
This was a fun event with a real message about humanity and how people can survive in any situation, especially ones that are brought on by Mother Nature. The true gift of giving was what every celebrity was talking about, coming in many forms but all with the same message: to step up in times of unforeseen disasters and taking care of thy neighbor.
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*Note some content was taken off of current press release.