I’m a big fan of the Nashville Food Project, which was formerly known as Mobile Loaves & Fishes. This group is based out of Woodmont Christian Church where they have a commissary kitchen, a pantry full of donated food from local restaurants and individuals and a few garden plots where they grow their own ingredients and teach local children about the importance of cultivating and eating fresh vegetables.
Several times per week, volunteers work in the kitchen to prepare nutritious meals which are distributed via two food trucks to more than 2,400 individuals – either working poor or living in the homeless communities of Nashville. These people have come to depend on the Nashville Food Project to provide what may be their only nutritious meal of the week, and volunteers share stories about how the faces of the lucky recipients light up when the trucks pull into the parking lots of various properties owned and operated by Urban Housing Solutions, an affordable and permanent housing provider in Nashville.
I’ve been lucky enough to help out in the kitchen for this group in the past, and I can assure you that the staff gets more out of donated food than almost any other organization in town. If they were a for-profit kitchen, they would have some of the most admired food costs in the community. Their website has an interesting infographic demonstrating how they use donated foods to prepare a typical day’s meals for 81 individuals for just $.58 per person.
If this sounds like something you’d like to help out with, you can directly volunteer to work in the gardens or the kitchen, or even ride along on a food truck to see the end result of all their efforts. Financially, you can donate money directly to the Nashville Food Project or attend either of two exciting fundraiser events coming up in the next few weeks.
On Thursday November 29, Chef Arnold Myint has invited his fellow Top Chef contestant Kevin Sbraga to cook a three- course family meal at Cha Chah for just $40 per diner. Aleksy Imports has generously agreed to provide wines for purchase that will also benefit the cause. Reservations are going quickly, and at this point I believe only late seatings are available, so call (615) 298-1430 if you want to hold a seat at the table. Cha Chah suggests that you make reservations for tables of four to take best advantage of the family-style presentation.
On December 4 at 6:30, Chef Thomas Keller will be visiting Nashville as one of only 10 stops on his book tour for his new Bouchon Bakery cookbook which he co-authored with Sebastien Rouxel. Keller is absolutely revered among the chef community and many of Music City’s best have volunteered to prepare dishes inspired by his career to make the event even more special. The roster of local luminaries includes Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson of The Catbird Seat, Tyler Brown from the Capitol Grille and host chef Charles Phillips from 1808 Grill in the Hutton. Other contributors will be Etch’s Megan Williams, Chris Carter and James Peisker from Porter Road Butcher, Matt Bolus, Bart Pickens and Alisa Huntsman of Loveless Cafe, Rebekah Turshen of City House and Lisa Donovan of Buttermilk Road Supper Club.
The evening promises to be one of the culinary events of the year, and tickets have now gone on sale here for $250. The price includes a copy of Keller and Rouxel’s new book. For such a fabulous experience that benefits a very worthy cause like the Nashville Food Project, you should definitely give serious consideration to attending.