Food Philanthropy: Feel-Good Restaurants
Jason Fox. Photo courtesy of Commonwealth.
In San Francisco, this modern American restaurant has philanthropy at its core: Each time a diner orders chef Jason Fox's $60 tasting menu—which might feature salt-cured foie gras with seaweed brioche—$10 goes to a local nonprofit. Customers then vote on which charity will receive the money; there's a new beneficiary every two weeks.
Giving Back Among the beneficiaries of Commonwealth donations: the San Francisco Food Bank, San Francisco SPCA and Food Runners hunger organization.
Charlie Hallowell knows that many of his Oakland neighbors can't afford food for their kids, much less his $24 fried chicken. So one Sunday a month, he turns his restaurant into a community kitchen. Using leftovers from the Pizzaiolo kitchen (roast pork, Swiss chard), he and his crew cook big pots of soup (minestrone, posole) and serve it for free.
When Ryan Farr launched 4505 Meats in 2009, he very quickly found a following for his excellent bacon-filled hot dogs, both in his online store and at a stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. At the same time, Farr joined the volunteer staff of CHEFS, a culinary training program. He now teaches butchering to recovering addicts, ex-cons and people living on the street, and has hired some of his graduates to work for him. "They're looking for stability, and I need help—it works for all of us," Farr says.