What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you and DC Central Kitchen?
What makes this kitchen work is our 150 employees, and 65 of those are graduates from our culinary job training program. These are the afflicted, homeless, unemployed, or formerly incarcerated. They are working for us, and they are part of the larger issue. They have had trouble getting a job, but we are hiring. We are a functional and sustainable organization, and we need to empower people.
Volunteers, more than 15,000 annually, come here and they’re not just cutting carrots. They’re having a conversation with someone they never would have encountered. That conversation is what’s so important and makes this all worth it... A lot of the people that come through our kitchen are volunteer chefs. Chefs like José Andrés, Spike Mendelsohn, and Tim Ma are our friends. They are well-known and have been one of the first groups of people who supported us. The chefs get it. They help us fundraise with big events, and they know that food has the power to end poverty. But, they don’t just fundraise for us. Chefs come here to the kitchen and help to teach culinary skills to our students. The food industry has been one of our biggest supporters since day one.