Amazing! That’s all I can keep repeating to myself after witnessing the result of our collaboration with Tom Douglas’s team and some very generous friends on June 21, 2012.
There were 40 guests, 30 courses, four brilliant guest chefs, and a team of 20 cooks, servers, and presenters. As a result, we raised more than $27,000 to be distributed among the organizations represented that evening.
Four years ago, the Modernist Cuisine team set out to write a document that captured the science of cooking so that chefs and home cooks could have a better understanding of one of the most fundamental acts of human existence: transforming food into something healthy, delicious, and beautiful. The project took on a much larger scope over the years, however, and we have had an overwhelmingly positive and open-minded response to Modernist Cuisine since it was published in March 2011.
The heart of the project was founded on the desire to enrich culinary education, eliminate boundaries, embrace interdisciplinary study, and demonstrate immense creativity.
Throughout the years, we have depended on some of the most talented chefs, scientists, farmers, community leaders, and artists to create a more complete, empowered experience of food.
There are currently two large and opposing movements in food in America. One is the detachment between food and cooking, wherein whole foods are replaced with inferior alternatives, a very real public health concern. The second is the movement toward organic, sustainable, and dynamic modern cooking, which is often inaccessible to most of the population.
A determined community of food organizations and social advocates has shown that bringing healthier, fresher foods to a larger proportion of the population is possible. Many incredible individuals and organizations are demonstrating the power of education as a means for change, including Alice Waters, FareStart, the Hunger Intervention Program, Community Kitchens, Teen Feed, Hopelink, Chefs Collaborative, Chefs Move to Schools, and more.
This past June, with the tremendous support of many individuals and organizations, we created a feast for the ages with the purpose of honoring these organizations and promoting awareness. Modernist Cuisine along with Tom Douglas’s team joined forces with chefs Bill Yosses of the White House, Jason Franey of Canlis, Jason Wilson of Crush, Matt Costello of the Inn at Langley, and Flynn McGarry of his up-and-coming Los Angeles pop-up.
The crowd featured 26 people who purchased tickets via an eBay auction. Special guests at the dinner were representatives of the organizations being celebrated: Katelyn Stickel from Teen Feed, Kate Murphy and Linda Berger from the Hunger Intervention Program, Dan Johnson from Farestart, Julia Martin-Lombardi from McCarver Elementary, and Kristina Kenck from Hopelink. All of them were able to address the dinners, tell their story, and share their ideas for meaningful change.
My sincere thanks go to our good friend Tom Douglas, as well as to Katie Okumura, and Alex Montgomery, all of who made this event possible.
Thank you to my amazing culinary team, Sam Fahey-Burke, Anjana Shanker, Johnny Zhu, Kimberly Schaub, Andy Nhan, Ben Hulsey, Scott Heimendinger, and Nick Gavin; our mixologists Jon Christiansen and Jonathan Biderman; our service managers Christina Miller, Maria Banchero, and Stephen Miller; and all of the dedicated stagers and volunteers that volunteered their time.
Thank you to the operational mastermind, Krystanne Kasey who helped make sure every detail was accounted for; to Tyson Stole and Rina Jordan for their beautiful photography; and to Paul Rucker for his brilliant cello improvisations during the evening.
Lastly, thank you to Nathan Myhrvold for giving our team time to collaborate with these wonderful folks and make this dream a reality.
With so much at stake in the food industry today, it was a moment of validation for so many individuals who push for pronounced and resolute change. If you can find the time, please go through the links below to read about what these different organizations are doing to educate our children and feed the less fortunate. They should be celebrated, protected, and supported with all of the resources we can offer.