Pictured in photo (above): Joan Nathan, Jose Andres and Alice Waters enjoying a brief pause at a Sips and Suppers event.
Salt-roasted beets with arugula, spiced pecans, chevre and citronette. Locally sourced, artisan charcuterie and vegan sweets. Daring cocktails from adventurous mixologists.
Fundraising never tasted so good.
For in-the-know DC-area foodies, January means Sips & Suppers, two culinary events that are equal parts delicious and philanthropic.
The annual events – one called Sips, the other Suppers (or “Sups,” as longtime attendees lovingly refer to it) – both benefit D.C. Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table, bringing in hundreds of thousands of much-needed dollars for the hunger-fighting non-profits while highlighting the plight of DC’s hungry.
Launched in 2006 by renowned chef, author and sustainable food pioneer Alice Waters, and jointly hosted by Waters and renowned chef José Andrés and food expert/author Joan Nathan, Sips & Suppers provides unique and, in many cases, rare dining experiences while supporting a cause that can go unnoticed in a town that often focuses on national needs instead of local ones.
This year’s culinary and community-focused weekend kicks off with Sips on Saturday, January 25 (7 p.m., Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, $95), a cocktail reception featuring eminent DC-area artisans, chefs and mixologists. (For a full list of participating chefs, mixologists, artisans and their products, click here.)
Next up is Suppers, Sunday, January 26, set to be held – simultaneously beginning at 6 p.m. – at private homes throughout the DC metro area. While the ticket price is a hefty $600, the event offers the unusual opportunity to enjoy intimate dinners prepared and served by legendary chefs from around the region, nation and world. Again this year, amazing Kosher meals are being offered.
Nearly every single event need – from travel to supplies – is donated, and practically every last penny goes directly to the organizations. Since their inception, the events have raised over $675,000. This year’s combined Sips & Suppers are estimated to bring in a whopping $300,000. Not bad for events just five years in the making.
Nathan couldn’t be more pleased. “It’s an education,” says Nathan, who also sits on the Jewish Food Experience Advisory Council. “It opens people’s eyes [to hunger]. They really welcome the opportunity to talk to other people and learn from each other.”
It’s also a chance to meet others that share a passion for both food and community. Nathan herself has made new friends – some of her very best, she says – through the events. Donating to a worthy cause makes it even sweeter. “People feel good about giving money that goes directly to these organizations. It’s worthwhile and it’s fun.”