This May I’m participating in Chefs Cycle, a three-day, 300-mile endurance ride in Sonoma County, to raise money for children who don’t have the same opportunities as my own.
Last month my 5-year-old daughter Smith decided to ditch the training wheels on her pink bike, determined to ride free like her big sister. A couple of days of blacktop spills and frustrated tears led to a blur of whirring pedals and big smiles. My girl craves speed and independence, and now she has the freedom to move beyond the safety of our driveway out into a bigger world.
Kids deserve to be kids. That’s why this May I’m participating in Chefs Cycle, a three-day, 300-mile endurance ride in Sonoma County, to raise money for children who don’t have the same opportunities as my own. According to No Kid Hungry, the organization behind Chefs Cycle, one in six children will face hunger this year. The $2.4 million fundraising goal for our spring ride will help pay for up to 24 million meals, including school breakfasts, lunches, and community programs that teach culinary skills to students and parents.
The ride also has benefits for the 275 chefs and food people like me who will be cycling for the cause this year. “For our industry, which has been relatively physically unhealthy, I’ve seen my colleagues change their health through riding,” says chef Seamus Mullen, a Chefs Cycle ambassador. “It’s amazing to see that positive progress and to address the solvable problem of hunger in the U.S.”
A former competitive cyclist, Mullen won’t have to worry about me overtaking him while climbing a steep grade. Chances are I’ll be somewhere in the peloton with members of Team Food & Wine, a squad of editors and Best New Chef alumni. We’ll ride through the foggy hills of west Sonoma County toward the shimmering Pacific Ocean; we’ll ride through redwood forests; we’ll ride past valley vineyards and farms and up punishing mountain climbs. We’ll ride with purpose.
The topography may vary, but the same kind of generous people that make Sonoma County tick can be found in every wine region in the world. In the Spring Wine Issue, we raise a glass to that spirit of community, celebrating future industry leaders in our 2019 Sommeliers of the Year, traveling Italy’s trail of tannins with chef Zakary Pelaccio, and spotlighting Hillary Sterling, a Chefs Cycle veteran, in “A Seder to Savor.”
I’m grateful for the chance to ride a bike in support of a cause as powerful as No Kid Hungry. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more training to do.
Team Food & Wine is raising money to end childhood hunger in America as we ride 300 miles from May 14 to 16 with Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry. Please join our effort by donating here.