Why 300 Chefs Are About to Bike 300 Miles
It's not about the exercise.
More than 250 chefs are stepping out of the kitchen and onto bicycles next week to raise money for No Kid Hungry, an organization aiming to end childhood hunger.
According to the organization's statistics, one in every six children will face hunger this year alone. That's a problem No Kid Hungry thinks it can solve—and one way it takes the problem on is to host Chefs Cycle, an annual fundraising event whose goal this year is to raise $20 million, or enough to pay for some 20 million meals for kids.
"Childhood hunger is a solvable problem, and as chefs it is our responsibility to fix that," says cycling participant Chris Cosentino, chef and partner of Delicious MFG & Co. "Each day, I give taste memories to my guests, but one in six kids' taste memory is hunger—and I do not want to live in a world like that. As industry professionals, we can work together to make this change and end childhood hunger."
The ride kicks off May 16 from the Flamingo Conference Resort in Santa Barbara, Calif., and wraps up three days—and 300 hundred long miles—later on May 18.
Stars such as Pink—yep, you read that right—will bike alongside the award-winning chefs, who hail from all over the country. Some may not be avid cyclists. Others, such as Redbird chef Neal Fraser—a former national bicycling champion—very much are.
"I raced bikes before I was a chef," he tells Food & Wine, adding this event is close to his heart because it combines his two passions, "being a chef and riding my bike."
Fraser says he rides about 150 miles a week, but he admits he hasn't trained for this particular 300-mile stretch. Despite that, he's looking forward to the event, as well as "watching Josiah Citrin [another cyclist] suffer for eight hours a day," he laughs.
For Cosentino's part, he's also an avid cyclist. "I raced professionally for more than six years as a mountain bike ultra endurance racer," he says, adding a record was riding a whopping 224 miles in just 24—making 300 in three days seem like nada.
"This is my second year riding Chefs Cycle, and is has made a huge change," he says. "It has given me a goal to make a change in how we look at food and what an impact it can have for the greater good—a community of industry professionals who normally don't have the time to work together to accomplish something as a team."
At the time of publication, the event has raised about $1.5 million of its $2 million goal. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. You can even sponsor a chef rider—or Pink, of course.