Tag Archives: food 4 kids

Sunday Night Chef Fights in San Diego

First, the fancy official info:

Sunday Night Chef Fights are a live cooking competition launching this summer in the Inland Empire, San Diego, and Orange County pitting local chefs of renown against each other in a head-to-head culinary battle in front of an audience. Two esteemed local chefs will sharpen their knives and step into the culinary ring to determine just who is San Diego’s “Top Chef,” as ForgottenGrapes.com presents the inaugural San Diego Sunday Night Chef Fight cooking competition live Sunday August 8th at 6:00 p.m. at the Kitchen Art Studio in the Plaza Sorrento Shopping Center (6755 Mira Mesa Blvd., Suite 134).

Chef Geordie Moulios, chef/owner of Cin Cin Simply Italian in Poway, will face the heat and face off against his opponent, Chef Richard B. Schmitt, Executive Chef and Head Instructor of Barbeques Galore’s Cooking Experience cooking school in San Diego, in this high-stakes live cooking competition where the local audience gets to serve as judge, jury, and taste-cutioner.

Each Sunday Night Chef Fight is a fast-paced, no-holds-barred culinary showdown similar to popular cooking competition shows on TV, but with a few extra twists thrown in to entertain. Before each event, both chefs are given three base ingredients – a protein, vegetable, and starch/grain – that must be included in their creations, a shopping allowance, and a week to plan and prep their dishes for the sixty members of the audience jury. Then, during the Sunday Night Chef Fight itself, each chef and his or her sous-chef will have only 30 minutes to cook and finish their dishes as well as incorporate a “mystery ingredient” into the mix while host Chris Kern peppers him or her with questions and keeps the audience apprised and entertained. The audience rates each chef’s creations in three categories, the totals are tallied at the end of the night, and one chef will be crowned the winner, receive the Sunday Night Chef Fight’s trophy, the title of “Champion Chef of San Diego,” and the opportunity to defend his or her title against a new local chef challenger at the next Sunday Night Chef Fight, to be held in October or November. “Sunday Night Chef Fights are the ultimate challenge for any outstanding chef,” notes Chris Kern, founder of ForgottenGrapes.com, creator of Sunday Night Chef Fights, and host of the event. “Not only are the chefs testing their culinary creativity and ability to work against the clock and against each other, but they’ve now got sixty local gourmets, foodies, and self- appointed food critics judging their creations.”

Each Sunday Night Chef Fight will also include as an “undercard” bout Vino Vidi Vici, a blind wine tasting competition in which all audience members taste three themed but unlabeled wines, select a favorite, and then have the opportunity to purchase either the winner or the wines they liked best. The name and varietal of each bottle will be revealed over the course of the Chef Fight.

Tickets are currently on sale at SundayNightChefFights.

Now, I’ll tell you why I’m sad we can’t go (we’re hosting a much-awaited welcome-home bbq that day): Chef Rich Schmitt is our favorite at the Barbeques Galore Outdoor Cooking School (even though he now spends most of his time ramping up the Austin, TX location) and he’s a lot of fun to watch. I, personally, am not a fan of Cin Cin (and if you can point me to a dish that will change my mind, I’d be much obliged) so I’m totally rooting for Chef Rich and it would have been fun to do so in person. I have no idea if the event is worth $50, but it’s about what you’d pay for a bbq class and you’d get to taste both chef’s dishes. It’s an interesting concept – a local Iron Chef-type event and I’m guessing it would drive a lot of traffic to the winner.  If anyone goes or know someone who does, I’d love to hear about it!

In other blatant fundraising news, if you haven’t yet donated to the Food 4 Kids Backpack Fundraiser and would love a chance to attend a bbq class, I have a surprise for you coming up.


Food 4 Kids Fundraiser and Backpack Drive

Last year, Alice and Caron organized this amazing fundraiser for the San Diego Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids program. The program provides hungry elementary school children with a backpack full of kid-friendly food every Friday. These kids need this program because, while they qualify for free or reduced-cost meals at school, they may not have adequate food on the weekends. In 2008-2009, the program was only available to 200 children throughout eight San Diego County schools. They are now able to serve 550 children in 19 schools and are hoping to expand to 850 kids this year.

This year’s fundraiser is much like last year’s, with multiple ways you can help:

  • Monetary Fundraiser: A fundraising site has been set up on firstgiving.com/food4kids to allow interested individuals to make monetary donations, add comments and keep track of the fundraiser’s progress. All donors are eligible for prizes donated by local restaurants and businesses which will be awarded by random drawing at the end of the event. A paltry $6.00 per week funds one child, and a donation of $250.00 will fund a backpack for a child for the entire 36 week school year.
  • Backpack and Food Drive on August 21 at Little Italy Mercato: On August 21, a food and backpack drive will be held at the Little Italy Mercato. Members of the community are asked to bring neutral backpacks (as in no logos and preferably black or red) and kid-friendly non-perishable foods (such as applesauce, cereal, fruit cups, mac ‘n cheese, pretzels, etc., and other healthful foods) to the Little Italy Mercato between 9 AM and 1 PM, where Food 4 Kids volunteers and Food Bank personnel will be on hand to collect them.
  • Dollar-a-Dish Program: August 1 – August 31: A “Dollar-a-Dish” event is set to run throughout the month of August at participating restaurants. These restaurants will select one of their best selling menu items and will contribute $1 to the Food 4 Kids program for every order of that dish sold during the month of August. At present, 30 restaurants have signed on to participate including: Alchemy, Bencotto, Café Chloe, Cosmopolitan Restaurant, Cowboy Star, Croce’s, Cucina Urbana, Dining Details (Catering,) Gaglione Brothers, George’s at the Cove, Hilton Garden Inn – Del Mar, JRDN, JSix, Kensington Grill, Lotsa Pasta, Nine-Ten, O’Brothers, Pizza Fusion, Playa Grill, Ritual Tavern, Royal India, Sessions Public, Soleluna Café, SoNo Trading Company, Starlite, Stingaree, Terra, The Red Door, Urban Solace and Zenbu.

If you’d like to read the full press release, you can view it here. Updates for the fundraiser are easily found on Alice or Caron’s websites (which you should be reading regularly, anyway!)

I don’t know if I’ll be able to wrangle up a raffle prize and we’re going to be out of town the weekend of the Backpack Drive, but you can bet I’m going to get out and try some of those Dollar-a-Dish restaurants! It’s a really great program and it benefits so many kids in San Diego. You never know who might need help, and the thought of a child going hungry over a weekend is heartbreaking.

San Diego Food Bloggers Food 4 Kids Holiday Fundraiser

This is the first year I’ve participated in an organized food fundraiser, much less one in San Diego.  I guess you could say it’s been a exciting year for me in the food community.  Getting to help on a cookbook, a trip to NY, a fancy dinner promotion, and now this.  It’s been such fun and I’m glad to have the opportunity to help in any way I can.

Alice Q. and Caron are spearheading a fundraising event for the San Diego Food Bank’s “Food 4 Kids” backpack program this holiday season and San Diego area bloggers are joining in to help!  I’ve even secured a pretty neat prize for the raffle, so make sure you read all the way to the end!

The San Diego Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Backpack Program was launched in 2007 to provide food to get chronically hungry elementary school students through the weekend.  Every Friday, participating children receive a backpack with child friendly items such as peanut butter, pop-top canned goods, cereal, juice boxes, fruit cups, raisins, pudding cups, granola bars, shelf-stable milk and macaroni and cheese tucked inside.

The children receive free or reduced cost meals while school is in session, but do not have food available on the weekends or school holidays for themselves and their siblings. Food 4 Kids provides food directly to the children, without requiring their parents to receive a referral to a local food pantry, pick up food at the pantry or prepare it at home.

In order to qualify for the program, students must attend a school where at least 80% of the population receives free or reduced cost lunch, and receive a referral from their teachers. During the 2008-2009 school year, the program served just 200 chronically hungry elementary school children in eight schools located throughout San Diego County.  The need is much greater.  As an example, the pilot program at one school in 2006 served 250 children alone.

The economy has been hard on all of us this year, but it has been hardest on those who were already struggling.  Charitable donations are down, and hunger in San Diego County is up.  Those of us who love food and view it as a pleasure are so fortunate to be in that position. The least we can do is try to ensure the children of our community don’t – quite literally – go hungry.

With this goal in mind, San Diego’s food bloggers and other members of the local community are coming together to raise funds for the San Diego Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Backpack Program. A little goes a long way – the program costs approximately $7.00 per week per child to fund, and a donation of $250.00 will fund a backpack for a child for the entire 36 week school year.  Giving whatever you can afford will help to ensure this program continues to provide a much needed service.

As an added incentive, several food bloggers will be hosting prizes to be awarded in a drawing at our live food and backpack drive at our booth at the Little Italy Mercato on December 12, 2009.  We will also be collecting non-perishable, child-friendly food items and backpacks.  Come and meet your favorite food bloggers, drop off your donations and celebrate the Holidays at the Mercato!

Suggested donation items:

  • A medium-sized neutral design backpack, preferably red in color.
  • Toothbrush and kids toothpaste
  • Coloring books
  • School supplies (pencils, paper, pencil sharpeners, markers, crayons)
  • Nutritious kid-friendly foods, such as fruit roll ups, granola bars, boxed packaged food items like cereal, crackers, nutrition bars, pop top canned goods such as applesauce or other fruit, ready made macaroni and cheese and other easy convenient items.

You can read more about the program in this flier and on the website.

Now, for the prize!  David Leite has generously agreed to donate a signed copy of his cookbook, The New Portuguese Table for the raffle.  Not only is it a beautiful cookbook with drool-inducing photographs, but it was well-tested by a team of recipe testers who also test for his site (and I was one of them!)  The recipes work so well, you could throw a dinner party and not worry about doing a dry run with a single recipe.  I can say this because it’s exactly what we did.  We used recipes from the cookbook for our Pre-Holiday Dinner Party and every single dish came out perfectly!  I even used recipes I didn’t test out the first time!  Come back to see pictures and hear what we thought of the food.

So, don’t forget to donate to the Food 4 Kids program if you can, either through the donation site or in person and the live donation drive, December 12, 2009. All donors on the Firstgiving page will be eligible to win prizes sponsored by local businesses, bloggers and individuals.

Thank you so much for your contribution, and Happy, Happy Holidays!