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20 Bay Area Chefs to Transform Food Bank into Four-Star Restaurant

August 12, 2013

MEDIA CONTACT: Blain Johnson
(415) 282-1907 x270 (office), (512) 487-2583 (cell)

20 Bay Area Chefs to Transform Food Bank into Four-Star Restaurant  
Tables selling fast for Food Bank’s September gala

SAN FRANCISCO (July 24, 2013) – The San Francisco and Marin Food Bank warehouse will be transformed into a four-star restaurant with 20 Bay Area chefs cooking for 400 guests this September. The event, named One Big Table, will take place at 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, in the Food Bank’s San Francisco Warehouse, 900 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“The warehouse is the hub of our operations, where the food is received and orders are built before we deliver them to our 240 food pantries,” says Food Bank Executive Director Paul Ash. “This same space will be transformed into an elegant dining hall for 400 of our strongest supporters. It’s like a warehouse party for grown-ups.

“It’s our hope that while folks enjoy an evening of food and drinks that they look past the event ropes to the rows of healthy food in the warehouse isles and are reminded of the enormity of the work that we do,” Ash says.

The fundraising gala is chaired by Food Network star chef Tyler Florence and will commemorate 26 years of feeding the hungry in San Francisco and Marin.

An event unlike any other
Twenty of the Bay Area’s top chefs will cook at individual stations forming a horseshoe shape around the warehouse floor, enclosing 40 dining tables in its center. Chefs will prepare hors d’oeuvres for guests to enjoy during an open bar reception, followed by a three-course seated dinner, evening program and live auction.

“Each chef will cook for two tables and design an individual dinner menu for his 20 particular guests,” says Event Manager Rachel Breuer. “It’s as if 20 restaurants will be opening at once on our warehouse floor.”  

The event will bring together some of the most influential donors in the area, with table sponsorships from $5,000 to $50,000. Tickets and table sponsorships are available online or by contacting Rachel Breuer, Events Manager, at (415) 282-1907 ext. 380, rbreuer@sffb.org. The RSVP deadline is Sept. 6.

26 years of growth, innovative programs
The Food Bank has come a long way from a tiny warehouse with a leaky roof and no loading docks. Since 1987, the organization’s partnerships have grown from a handful of hot meal programs in the Tenderloin to a network of 450 agencies serving a diverse population throughout San Francisco and Marin. From less than 1 million pounds its first year, the Food Bank will distribute 46 million pounds of food this year.

The Food Bank has pioneered many programmatic innovations over the years. For example, 240 farmers’ market-style pantries allow participants to select their own nutritious groceries each week. 

The San Francisco and Marin Food Bank was the first to partner with large farms in California, enabling the organization to bring millions of pounds of fresh produce to hungry families through a program called Farm to Family. Nearly 60 percent of the food the Food Bank will distribute this year is fruits and vegetables that come fresh from the farm.

The Food Bank’s programs for seniors and school Morning Snack program are further examples of the innovative ways the Food Bank is working to feed the hungry in San Francisco and Marin.

Looking to the future: More work to do
While news reports indicate the economy is improving, those economic indicators mean little to food pantry participants. Rent in San Francisco is still the second highest in the nation, and the influx of high-skilled jobs has actually driven prices up and made it harder for the working poor to afford groceries.

The need in our area is as great as ever – it’s only the awareness of that need that’s declined.

The Food Bank has scaled up to meet the need, and now it must keep up the pace. The organization hopes to expand the variety of fruits and vegetables it offers, improve school meals and increase CalFresh access for eligible people through its advocacy work.

How can I help?
The answer is simple – none of what the Food Bank does is possible without the public’s support. When people donate to the Food Bank and volunteer in its warehouses, they are ensuring that the Food Bank will continue to be able to feed the hungry. Because of the scale of the Food Bank’s operations, every $1 donated can be turned into $6 worth of food.

About the Food Bank
Every day, the Food Bank sources, collects, sorts, inspects and repackages thousands of pounds of food, then distributes it to soup kitchens, neighborhood pantries, school programs and seniors in need.

During an average week, the Food Bank serves more than 144,000 people throughout San Francisco and Marin counties.  The Food Bank will distribute more than 46 million pounds of food to the community this year alone – enough for more than 105,000 meals every day. Nearly 60 percent of what is distributed is fresh fruits and vegetables.