Chefs Make Change
From Left: Chef Jeff Michaud, Jeff Benjamin and Marc Vetri; © Philip Gabriel.
On Tuesday in Philadelphia, local empire builder and F&W Best New Chef 1999 Marc Vetri will welcome some of the country’s most exciting chefs to cook at the 8th annual Great Chefs Event at the Urban Outfitters Headquarters in the city’s Navy Yard. Among the 46 super talents at the grand tasting: Michael Symon, grill master Adam Perry Lang and New York’s April Bloomfield. Vetri founded the event to benefit the charity Alex’s Lemonade Stand after meeting the parents of its creator Alex Scott, a young cancer victim who in 2000, set up a lemonade stand to help raise money to cure other kids with the disease. What Vetri started as a small gathering has since grown to a yearly event that now welcomes 1,200 people and hopes to raise more than $1 million for the second year in a row.
An unintended, but brilliant consequence of Great Chefs has been the establishment of the event's co-beneficiary, Vetri Foundation for Children. Its signature program is called Eatiquette, which aims to improve school lunch by serving healthier food family-style. “The simple reason why our program is so amazing is that if you line up a whole bunch of kids and put apples there, who’s going to take one? But if they’re sitting around and talking and you place a big plate of sliced apples in the middle of the table, they’re all going to eat apples,” says Vetri. In the new school year, Eatiquette should expand from six charter schools into three to four more, including a Philadelphia public school. If you can’t make it down to Philly (though it’s worth trying to score tickets to the after party DJ’ed by Questlove), we suggest bidding on killer auction items now online like dinner with Tom Colicchio and his director wife Lori Silverbush at Vetri and a four-day trip to the Adriatic. The highlight of the live auction is an eating tour through Italy’s Marche region with Vetri himself.
Alex's Lemonade Stand is also hosting National Lemondade Days this weekend, a coast-to-coast fundraiser to raise money to fight childhood cancer.
Related: More Chefs Make Change
Most Wanted Recipe: Marc Vetri's Spinach Gnocchi
Inteviews with Chef Superstars: Marc Vetri
Chefs Make Change
It's not every day that Mario Batali hands out a Golden Pie Service Award. In fact, he'd never given one out before Sunday night, when he handed one to President Bill Clinton. Clinton was the star of an astonishing crowd that came out to support the Mario Batali Foundation, which works to keep kids well fed, well read and well cared for. Read more >
Chef John Besh presents Syrena Johnson with her chef jacket. / Courtesy Besh Restaurant Group
Here at F&W we’re crazy about the amazing food that our chef heroes make every single day, but we’re even more excited when they’re passionate about passing the torch on to the next generation of culinary leaders. Legendary chef John Besh has set out on a new mission: diversifying the chef community of New Orleans, enlisting native sons and daughters to preserve the city's venerable culinary traditions.
Read more >
Chefs Make Change
Mario Batali and U2's The Edge; Ken Goodman Photography
Among the superstars in Food & Wine's Chefs Make Change coalition, Mario Batali is making power moves to raise funds for his charity this summer. The Mario Batali Foundation, which helps feed, protect and educate children, just announced two celebrity-studded events starring Bill Clinton. The former president will headline an inaugural MBF Honors dinner in New York on September 9 at Batali's fine-dining flagship Del Posto Ristorante, where guests will include Jimmy Fallon (tickets $1,500 and over).
On September 10, Clinton, the chef, and his creative friends will play golf at the third annual MBF Swing Session Celebrity Golf Classic (see: Batali with U2 guitarist The Edge at last year's event, left). The all-day outing features a chartered boat ride from Manhattan to Liberty National Golf Club across the Hudson, a clinic with PGA player Hunter Mahan and food from Marea's Michael White and Del Posto chef Mark Ladner. Slots start at $3,000 ($10k for a foursome). Club Hill Media produced a video tease if you want a closer look at how these blockbuster events are done.
Tickets: MBF Honors Dinner
3rd Annual Swing Session Celebrity Golf Classic, Liberty National Golf Club, NJ
Chefs Make Change
© David Gallent / Jeneée Taylor
As one of the extraordinary members of F&W’s Chefs Make Change coalition, New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse helps at-risk young people through his Emeril Lagasse Foundation. One of Lagasse’s favorite partnerships is with the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), where he recently challenged culinary students to create a recipe with regional flavors for his “Dish That Makes a Difference” contest. This year’s winner is Janeé Taylor, an 18-year-old NOCCA graduate currently enrolled as a freshman at Johnson & Wales University. Her “Louisiana Surf and Turf” made with grilled rib eye, seafood mashed potatoes and Cajun asparagus will be featured on the menu at Lagasse’s restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas and Orlando throughout the month. Raising awareness for the programs, $5 from every dish will be donated back to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. Here, Taylor talks about inspiration and plans for the future >
© Alexander Jorgensen
First Look at the Batali Pang at Num Pang.
By now you must know that F&W loves when chefs work to change the world through charity
programs. We also happen to love Mario Batali
. And sandwiches. Add that all up, and here’s what you’ve got: Batali creating a limited-edition sandwich for charity at the excellent Cambodian sandwich shop Num Pang
in Manhattan’s East Village. It’s the inaugural sandwich for Num Pang’s Guest Chefs Give Back. The program was created by Num Pang owners Ben Daitz and Ratha Chaupoly
; look for new big-name cooks and their sandwiches in the coming month.
First up, the Batali Pang. It’s an awesome combo of Brooklyn-made cotecchino sausage, balsamic pickled onions and sheep’s milk cheese, mixed with more traditional Num Pang ingredients (homemade chili mayo, pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro), served on a toasted semolina baguette. On sale from February 15-March 15, it’s going for $9.75; proceeds will be split between The Food Bank for New York City
(one of my personal favorites) and The Cambodian Children’s Fund
For more details and a cute pic of the principal players, go to Midtownlunch.com
While Food & Wine
is busy helping phenomenal chefs like Mario Batali
and Rick Bayless
make change and save the world
, some other notable people are doing their part, too. Leonardo DiCaprio
is partnering with outstanding coffee producer La Colombe Torrefaction
to create a special blend called Lyon
. All net profits will go to environmental projects supported by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. (The foundation works with, among others, the National Resource Defense Council
and the World Wildlife Fund
on one of my favorite initiatives, SaveTigersNow.org
). "Leonardo has an acute understanding of the challenges we all face," says Todd Carmichael, Torrecfaction's co-founder. "Particularly those people in the developing world, which incidentally, are also coffee growing countries."
The new eco coffee Lyon, has Leonardo DiCaprio's name all over it.
And here’s more on Lyon coffee. It’s a blend of, no surprise, sustainably raised beans from Haiti, Peru, Ethiopia and Brazil. It’s available at Williams-Sonoma and select Whole Foods, plus at La Colombe cafés. You won’t see DiCpario acting as barista at La Colombe any time soon, unfortunately; he’s in Australia filming The Great Gatsby
Chefs Make Change
The knives will come out on GMA.
On Thursday, February 2, Good Morning America will host
Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse for a fierce cook-off to raise money for their charities, featured in Food & Wine
’s Chefs Make Change
coalition. Before the superstars go head-to-head, GMA
wants Facebook fans to vote
on the main ingredient, which could very well end up as bacon. This is not Batali’s first drastic measure to draw attention to the Mario Batali Foundation
—if you donate to his cause before February 7, the world will be one step closer to a red-ponytail-free Batali
. That also means there’s a lot riding on Lagasse to drive funds to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation
. The charities both help underprivileged kids. Show love to your favorite chef by donating
now for BATALI
Learn more about Chefs Make Change
© Con Poulos
Italian Sweet-and-Sour Chicken
Mario Batali, one of the 10 superstar chefs committed to F&W’s Chefs Make Change coalition, chatted with co-hosts on The Chew last week about his pledge to cut off his famous red ponytail if The Mario Batali Foundation can raise $500,000 by February 7. The new online clip also reveals what Batali won't give up, so donate to Chefs Make Change for a rare chance to see this chef change his ways. Batali's program helps feed, educate and inspire kids. One new program is the Community CookShop, which teaches families how to cook with ingredients found in food pantries. Inspired by food-bank staples, Batali created this tangy Italian take on sweet-and-sour chicken for a delicious home-cooked meal.
Related: More Recipes from Mario Batali
Healthy Italian Dishes
Pantry Ingredient Essentials