An enthusiastic, sold-out crowd of friends and followers of local chef and restauranteur Ashley Christensen gathered at Poole’s Diner on Sunday evening for an occasion of fine food, good company, and social change. By evening’s end, the dinner prepared by award-winning chefs and auction of culinary experiences raised over $130,000 to fight childhood hunger. These funds will support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s mission to feed, teach and grow and will benefit No Kid Hungry, a national organization dedicated to childhood hunger relief.
The evening began with cocktails and an amazing dinner prepared by nationally recognized chefs from all over the country:
Chef Sarah Grueneberg, chef/partner of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio in Chicago, IL (2017 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes)
Chef Jason Stanhope, executive chef of FIG in Charleston, SC (2015 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Southeast)
JoAnne Canady-Brown, owner of The Gingered Peach Bakery in Lawrence, NJ (2018 James Beard Foundation fellow)
Rob McDaniel, executive chef of SpringHouse in Alexander City, AL (2017 semifinalist for James Beard Foundation Best Chef South)
The culinary thrills continued through the evening’s auction. Items up for bid included dinner for 12 at Andrea Reusing’s Lantern Restaurant; a hands-on baking class for 6 taught by pastry chef Joanne Canady-Brown; a weekend at the Willow Point Golf and Country Club Villas on the shores of Lake Martin in Alabama; a Alex Raij and Eder Monterro shepherded tour of seafood restaurants in New York City; a weekend jaunt to Chicago with stops at chef Sarah Grueneberg’s favorite restaurants among other highlights; a trip to Charleston designed and directed by chef Jason Stanhope; and a collaborative dinner for 6 prepared by famed barbecue pitmaster and James Beard Award winner Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX.
Funds raised from the “Chefs Dinner to End Child Hunger” will support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle programs like BackPack Buddies which provides 2,900 backpacks of nutritious food for children from food-insecure homes with healthy weekend meals and School Pantries, which expanded this year to 28 schools across Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s 7-county service territory.