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Bar Area Chefs Give Back at La Cocina Charity Event

Bar Area Chefs Give Back at La Cocina Charity Event

La Cocina's gala included a night of specialty drinks from local chefs and a food-centric auction

La Cocina helps low-income women and immigrant entrepreneurs who are launching, growing, and formalizing food businesses.

The non-profit organization La Cocina hosted its annual gala in San Francisco last week, featuring a dinner by recent James Beard Award winner Ashley Christensen of Raleigh, NC's Poole's Diner. The groundbreaking incubator raised funds for its unique project designed to reduce the obstacles for low income food entrepreneurs. The event took place at the Airbnb hadquarters.

La Cocina, is an authentic culinary institution in San Francisco that provides commercial kitchen space and technical assistance to low-income women and immigrant entrepreneurs who are launching, growing, and formalizing food businesses. The event had the goal to link together chefs and food-lovers. Signature cocktails were mixed from guest chefs, including Charles Phan (Slanted Door, Hard Water, and The Coachman), Craig & Annie Stoll (Delfina), Joanne Weir (Copita), Koji Kanematsu (Onigilly), Massimo Conti & Lorella Degan (La Ciccia and La Nebbia), Shelley Lindgren and Rocky Masseli (A16 Rockridge) and Sophina Uong (Pican).

The reception also featured an open bar with cocktails from Rye on the Road and wine selected by Shelley Lindgren, Wine Director of A16, A16 Rockridge, and SPQR, and was accompanied by an online auction featuring tickets to events and specialty opportunities to learn from so of San Francisco's most skilled chefs and food personalities.

Click here for more on San Francisco.

21 Restaurant Event Ideas To Get More Customers

Are you looking for fun and profitable restaurant event ideas? Having the same events and parties week after week at your restaurant can get boring for your customers and make them less excited to dine there. It’s time to put on some new events to generate more interest. Here are just a few ways to attract new customers with special evenings.

Chef Bruce Kalman Opens Soulbelly BBQ in the Heart of Las Vegas’ Downtown Arts District

Leaving fine dining Italian cuisine for American BBQ, James Beard nominated and Bravo Top Chef favorite Chef Bruce Kalman opens his first Las Vegas restaurant with business partner Richard Camarota, dubbed Soulbelly BBQ, in the heart of the Downtown’s Arts District May 12, 2021.

“I came to Las Vegas because a chef friend of mine convinced me it was a great place to start a business and raise our son, Jude. Since taking the leap of faith in 2019, I’ve been so warmly welcomed by the incredible culinary and business community here. I want Soulbelly to be something special that celebrates the amazing soul of Las Vegas and its people. We’re going to work really hard to deliver on that and give our town a relaxed experience where you can come as you are and know that you’re going to be well fed and well taken care of, and also have fun while you’re at it. We’ve held a series of pop-ups to build momentum, but it’s finally time to show the city of Las Vegas what we’ve been smoking and I couldn’t be more excited!”

“We saw an opportunity to bring a totally new experience to Las Vegas’ growing off-strip dining scene. The combination of great, honest barbecue, cooler beers, American whiskey and live music is something we’re really passionate about and excited for people to enjoy. We’re also really proud and grateful to be joining this awesome family of indie restaurants, bars, shops in the area the whole neighborhood is set to explode with energy as the world re-opens.” says Camarota.

From fine Italian to American BBQ – Chef Bruce Kalman’s Evolution

A veteran chef who worked his way through some of the country’s most prestigious kitchens in New Jersey, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Kalman became most known for his time at and ownership of LA’s Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market and Pasadena’s UNION, where he wowed diners with his Italian cuisine.

Committed to art of cooking, Kalman has always prided himself on house-crafted dishes created with the best-quality ingredients. In a kismet meeting, Kalman found himself at a charity event also attended by Backbeat BBQ founder and Foo Fighters Front Man Dave Grohl. In an effort to help Grohl serve the crowds, Kalman was introduced to the passion, effort and incredible community of American BBQ. That was all it took. From that experience, Soulbelly BBQ was born.

A Chef’s Take on Regional American BBQ

Coming from a very different side of the culinary industry “barbecue has been humbling,” says Kalman. “I really wanted to respect the tradition while putting my own spin on my meats. I’m taking a little more of a chef’s approach than a pitmaster’s, though the heart of the industry and culture can still be tasted.”

Signature #jigglymeat-a phrase coined for the way a brisket moves when it’s pulled from the smoker-dishes include Kalman’s Salt & Pepper Brisket, Carolina Pulled Pork, Chipotle Cider Glazed Drumsticks, Pork Spare Ribs, housemade Hatch Chile and Cheddar Hot Links, and Texas Sausages.

Sides That Don’t Suck

From handcrafted pasta and chicharrón breadcrumbs for the Mac and Cheese, to extensive recipe testing for the Coleslaw, Kalman dedicated his efforts toward ensuring that each dish on Soulbelly BBQ’s menu was crafted with full flavor in mind.

Further showcasing his creative side, Kalman has adorned the bar menu with rotating bites like superb Pigs In A Blanket, Frito Pie, Pickled Eggs, Chicharrón Chips, Pimento Cheese Dip and more.

Desserts include Soulbelly BBQ’s housemade Banana Pudding and Cookie Bars, as well as a selection of pies from PopNpies, made by acclaimed Pastry Chef Andrea McLean, formerly of Joël Robuchon.

Cooler Beer & American Whiskey

Keeping it classic, Soulbelly BBQ’s beer and cocktail program features American beers like Lone Star and Shiner, alongside locally brewed Nevada beers from neighboring downtown Las Vegas and Henderson breweries. Most notably, HUDL Brewing, Soulbelly BBQ’s next-door neighbor, is specially brewing the Charred & Shifty – an American red made with Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey barrel ashes in the mash.

Putting the Soulbelly spin on classic cocktails, the menu is dressed with sips including an Old Fashioned and Mint Julip, beside twists like the Sweet Tea Sangria and the Lunch Box – a blend of beer, Amaretto and orange juice. The restaurant’s solid whiskey and bourbon selection is currently at 37 bottles strong.

A Garage With Rustic Soul

Bringing Chef Kalman’s vision to life, this former automotive garage turned restaurant was carefully designed to reflect and honor the culture surrounding American BBQ. Paying homage to the bones of the building, Kalman kept subtle details and accents like tying in an original half royal blue painted wall. Murals on each side of the space showcase iconic figures like the Queen of Texas BBQ and pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz, alongside quintessential southern musicians like Koko Taylor and Buddy Guy.

Again tying in Kalman’s love for music, the back of the restaurant has a 16-by-8 foot stage, which will soon become home to live musicians from both Las Vegas and beyond. A few special accent features include Soulbelly BBQ’s mascot, an antique metal pig now named “Lambchop,” and the vintage beverage cooler parked near the front of the restaurant, which houses the canned and bottled beverage selection.

Merch, Sauce & BK Brinery

Patrons can take a part of Soulbelly BBQ home as the restaurant will have stylish wear from “Will Work for Brisket” shirts to logoed hats and more. Bottled sauces and rubs as well as Chef Kalman’s BK Brinery pickles will also be available for purchase.


*Outdoor Dining & To Go Meals


Please review our House Rules


JBJ Soul Kitchen Offering Outdoor Dining and Meals To Go for Curbside Pickup

We hope you and your families are safe and well. The emergence of COVID-19 has bolstered our commitment to helping individuals and families in need. For 13 weeks during the quarantine mandated by the New Jersey government, JBJ Soul Kitchen upheld its mission to help those struggling with food insecurity by providing grab-and-go meals to those in need. The restaurants served a combined total of 7,800 meals to individuals, families, community partners, and front-line workers.

Last month, we transitioned back to our Pay It Forward model. If you and your family are in need of food, you can still count on us for a delicious, healthy meal served with dignity. Please come by and enjoy a sit-down meal at our outdoor dining area and learn about volunteer opportunities, resources, and services in the area.

Those who wish to support our mission can stop by to enjoy outdoor dining at both our Red Bank and Toms River locations. Patrons can also order healthy three-course meals online for curbside pickup while Paying It Forward to feed others.

Our menus feature seasonal items leveraging locally-sourced and organic ingredients when possible from JBJ Soul Kitchen gardens. Vegetarian options, gluten-free, dairy-free substitutes are always available. We are also now offering a complimentary kid entrée with the purchase of one regular entrée. Please visit the JBJ Soul Kitchen website for more details and to order online. See hours of operation below.

JBJ Soul Kitchen remains committed to the health and safety of its staff, volunteers, patrons, and community. To this end, we established House Rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, following the State of New Jersey Department of Health, CDC, and local regulations.

Thank you for your continued support and patronage. Together, we can do what we can to help our community during this challenging time.

JBJ Soul Kitchen Staff

As we navigate to our new normal, we will continue to focus on the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, patrons and community. To this end, we have established House Rules to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in accordance with the State of New Jersey Department of Health , CDC & local regulations. Learn More

Instagram @opbbqrelief

Contact Information

1-844-627-7353 (follow prompts)
Fax 1-866-861-3297

Mailing Address & Warehouse:
Operation BBQ Relief
22720 Joe Holt Parkway
Peculiar, MO 64078

For Donations Only:
Operation BBQ Relief
PO Box 414378 WS #198
Kansas City, MO 64141

© 2021 Copyright Operation BBQ Relief

© 2021 Copyright Operation BBQ Relief, a tax exempt charitable organization qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
Tax ID# 45-2442792.

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Bar Area Chefs Give Back at La Cocina Charity Event - Recipes

/>Jardiniere (Photo by Ed Anderson)

Restaurateur and culinary maven Traci Des Jardins grew up on a 4,000-acre farm in the San Joaquin Valley and started college at age 16, only to drop out out in her first year. She landed in a kitchen.

“I wanted to ski and take some time off, and my parents weren’t too keen on that,” Des Jardins says. “So I thought, ‘I’ll become a cook, so I can support myself and ski and hang out and kind of mess around.’ But that didn’t last very long.”

What she thought would be a step back put Des Jardins on the trajectory that she would follow for the rest her life.

“I got recommended to work with a chef who’d just come over from France who was pretty ambitious and super intense,” she says, obliquely referring to the James-Beard-winning Los Angeles restaurateur Joachim Splichal, and to her apprenticeship under him at 7th Street Bistro.

“I started working with him and just fell in love with the really intense world of refined culinary pursuits and restaurants. For the next 20 years, basically all I did was work. It was a pretty intense path.”

It’s the one word that sums her up: intense. By the time Des Jardins opened Jardinière in 1997, she had spent time at four Michelin-starred restaurants in France, served as executive chef at Splichal’s flagship Patina, and received substantial recognition during her three-year tenure as executive chef at Drew Nieporent’s Rubicon, a seminal establishment in the San Francisco food scene that launched the careers of Stuart Brioza, Chris Cosentino, Nicole Krasinski, and Jeremy and Deanie Fox. Des Jardins’ Rubicon highlights include a James Beard Award for “Rising Chef of the Year” and designation as Food and Wine’s “Best New Chef.”

“There were high expectations around the kind of restaurant I would open,” she says. “And there was a lot of pressure associated with that.”

After serving as the opening chef and staffing the kitchens of both Rubicon and Patina, though, Des Jardins felt ready to meet those expectations. Now, 20 years and many more awards later, she’s expanded her reach to include Arguello, Transit, and The Commissary — all of which are joint ventures with the Presidio Trust and Bon Appetit Management Company — plus Mijita Cocina Mexicana, and Public House.

Des Jardins will mark the 20th anniversary of her initial venture with a three-day celebration this weekend, Saturday to Monday, Sept. 9-11. Kicking things off Saturday night are two seatings of a six-course tasting menu Des Jardins created and executed with the help of former pastry chefs and general managers, with optional wine pairings from past wine directors.

Sunday evening, a $195, five-course benefit for kitchen incubator La Cocina puts Hayes Valley women front and center, including Des Jardins, Elizabeth Falkner (of the former Orson and Citizen Cake), Sarah Rich (Rich Table), Gabriela Cámara (Cala), Kim Alter (Nightbird), and Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn and Petite Crenn).

Finally, on Monday, Jardiniére hosts a full house with a cocktails-and-canapés event in which S.F. bar directors like Thad Vogler (Trou Normand, Bar Agricole) and Elizabeth Takeuchi-Krist (The Starling) partner with former Jardiniére chefs like Douglas Keane (Two Birds/One Stone), and Deepak Kaul (Bhuna) to craft perfect party-sized pairings.

Jardinière, housed in a two-story brick building on the corner of Franklin and Grove streets, has evolved over the years, with traditional dishes like wine-braised short ribs gradually giving way to more innovative items like an Impossible Burger kibbeh — a plant-based dish that satisfies Des Jardins’ desire to provide sustainable alternatives that rival real meat and have a cult-like following among Bay Area eaters. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is Des Jardins’ love of the landmark Civic Center location, which was both strategic and fortunate.

“I used to drive past that building all the time when I was going downtown to Rubicon, and I just thought that [it] was really enthralling and beautiful — and I didn’t understand why it was empty,” Des Jardins says. “It seemed to me, logically, that being located next to the Symphony and the Opera would be a great thing, because you’ve got that pretty high-end clientele that’s attending those performances, and they need to eat.”

But even with hordes of diners regularly trekking past the doors in quest of pre-performance meals, surviving in this city is a verified challenge.

“Healthy competition is really good,” Des Jardins says, “but I think that, somehow, we’ve managed to flood the market. There are a lot of really good and significant restaurants, but there are just too many of them.”

Despite this, new places seem to open on the daily.

“I think that, in the dining public, that there’s a real hunger for novelty, and that does make it a challenge to operate a restaurant that’s 20 years old,” she adds.

Rubicon closed in 2008, but Jardinière’s doors are still open. Des Jardins’ tips to newcomers in the industry: scout out a great location, empower good leads, invest in your staff, reinvest in your restaurant, and take care of your people. She has also benefited from a long list of accolades, but notes that she’s still taken aback when people refer to her as a “celebrity chef.”

“I could never have imagined it when I started cooking,” she says.

One thing Des Jardins has done with her notoriety is use it as a platform through her significant involvement with La Cocina, a non-profit kitchen incubator that helps low-income women, especially immigrants, enter the food business.

“When I started out in the cooking world, it was a very sort of elitist business,” she says. “And it always felt to me like I needed some sort of an offset for that. Chefs, in general, are pretty philanthropic. We like to give back when we can.”

La Cocina was a natural fit.

“I’ve seen it from the original vision to fruition,” she says. “It’s a big part of me and my desires and life — a way that I can express myself in helping others.

“It’s been an immense pleasure to see these women who haven’t been given very many opportunities in their lives have the opportunity to support their families and create their own businesses,” she adds. “There are really inspiring stories of extraordinary people who’ve had a rough go of it and have the opportunity to do something great for themselves.”

Des Jardins recalls participating in a poignant panel discussion with three of La Cocina’s participants: “I was getting so emotional listening to them [and] to their stories of immigrating here and the challenges that they experienced as immigrants and this love of food they had that carried them through difficult times. It just blows you away to understand what these women have gone through to have the opportunities that they have.”

Des Jardins, who was officially honored at La Cocina’s fifth annual gala earlier this year, is looking forward to incorporating the organization into this weekend’s festivities.

“It’s pretty amazing,” she says. “I’m super-proud, and I’m excited to celebrate it with my staff — who have contributed tremendously to that success — and my guests, who have been giving us their time and attention and gracing us with their company for so many years. The whole thing is going to be pretty thrilling, I think.”

2019 San Francisco Street Food Festival

The La Cocina San Francisco Food Festival is back and celebrating their 10th Year Anniversary on October 12 at The Power Station in the Dogpatch. Enjoy the delicious dishes of 50+ talented chefs born out of La Cocina, and a few others who had to jump in on the party.

You won’t want to miss out on what these incredible chefs will be cooking up. The fun doesn’t have to stop at grabbing a bite (okay, a few bites…plus some to take home). Come out for a few extra hours and volunteer with the La Cocina team.

  • Southeast Asian-inspired Night Market
  • Fried Chicken Bucket Bar
  • Tostada Mercado for build-your-own guisados
  • Whole Hog BBQ Pitmasters
  • Plus live entertainment, family fun, and more

The SF Street Food Festival benefits La Cocina — a nonprofit culinary incubator cultivating low-income women entrepreneurs. Thanks to presenting sponsor DoorDash, the event offers one day to taste the best and the brightest of the Bay Area’s food scene.

Disclaimer: Please double check event information with the event organizer as events can be canceled, details can change after they are added to our calendar, and errors do occur.

9 Charitable Wines That Donate to Causes We Love

2020 has been a brutal year for many, many people, and many wineries have stepped up to help by contributing cash for restaurant employee charities, donating wines for fundraising auctions, and more. Washington’s Quilceda Creek donated $365,000 to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund Willamette and Tualatin Valley wineries in Oregon donated over $1 million worth of wine to ER doctors and nurses the list goes on. But charity-centered wines aren’t a new thing nor necessarily driven by a single dire event. Below are nine wines that donate to amazing causes on an ongoing basis. Buy them, and you’ll be helping, too.

2018 Indaba Mosaic Red Blend ($12)

Since 1996, Indaba has donated over $50,000 annually to the Indaba Foundation, which provides education for disadvantaged children throughout South Africa’s winelands. This black currant–y Bordeaux-style blend is a steal for the price.

2018 Purple Cowboy Trail Boss Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)

Purple Cowboy wines have raised over $1 million for breast cancer research. Founder Terry Wheatley says, 𠇊s a breast cancer survivor myself, I’m proud to have these wines help families facing this issue.”

2019 Liquid Geography Rosé ($15)

The profits of this zesty Spanish rosé, created by wine importer Patrick Mata, go to the T.J. Martell Foundation (for cancer research), Wheeling Forward (which helps support people with disabilities), and chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen.

2017 Kind Stranger Chardonnay ($17)

Washington’s Andrew Latta asks his distributors in every state to find local charities that mirror the ones he donates to with Kind Stranger’s Seattle-area sales (like Mary’s Place, which helps with housing and assistance for homeless women and children).

2018 Stolpman La Cuadrilla ($22)

For this brainchild of vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano, 10% of the entire Stolpman vineyard harvest is used to create a rich, darkly fruity red blend𠅊nd 100% of the profits from the wine go directly back to the winery’s vineyard workers.

NV Onehope Vintner Collection California Brut Sparkling ($25)

Over time, this lively sparkling wine has helped provide over 3 million meals to children in need through nonprofit WhyHunger other OneHope wines support environmental, educational, and a range of other causes.

Une Femme The Callie Sparkling Rosé ($25)

Une Femme donates a portion of its proceeds to Dress For Success, a nonprofit that helps women around the world achieve economic independence. This precise California sparkling rosé is made by up-and-coming star Samantha Sheehan of Poe Wines.

NV Vital Wines Given ($28)

Walla Walla, Washington�sed winemaker Ashley Trout founded nonprofit Vital Wines to help the SOS Health Services, a health care clinic for residents of Walla Walla Valley. This robust blend of Cabernet and Syrah is full of dark, rich fruit overlaid with mocha and tobacco notes.

2017 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc ($65)

Napa Valley’s Ehlers Estate is fully owned by the Leducq Foundation, which funds research into cardiovascular disease all profits from the winery go toward that cause. This luscious red balances dark cherry fruit against savory cedar notes.

Best Day Ever

For instant bar and restaurant promotion ideas, look to the calendar. But don’t focus on the obvious holidays. Get creative with lesser known days of the year. Here are 12 calendar-based restaurant promotion ideas:

  1. Mid-January: Resolution Ruiner Party
    Have fun with the fact that just 8 percent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. Create restaurant promotion ideas and specials for your richest appetizers and best booze.
  2. February 2: Groundhog’s Day
    Add intrigue to this holiday by offering 2 for 1 drinks all night if the groundhog sees his shadow – or 2 for 1 appetizers if he doesn’t.
  3. March 14: Pi Day
    3.14 is “pi” in mathematics – get it? These nerdy restaurant promotion ideas can add up to big sales. Offer $3.14 appetizers or a $31.40 prix fixe menu. Or, include complimentary slices of homemade pie with every order. Also, apple pie shots anyone?
  4. April 1: April Fool’s Day Joke Competition
    Fool me once, fool me twice…ok, we can’t remember the saying either. Host a “joke off” event. Invite guests to tell their best joke and let the crowd vote for the ultimate joker.
  5. May 4: Star Wars Day
    “May the Fourth” be with you as you invite guests to come in costume to enjoy restaurant promotion ideas and drink special inspired by the hit movies.
  6. July 21: Hot Dog Day
    Cater to sports fans? Promote complimentary hot dogs – plus peanuts and cracker jacks. Call it a “Day at the Ball Park” and turn on the baseball games.
  7. August 26: National Dog Day
    You’ll fetch big crowds if you have space outdoors to host patrons – and their pooches. Put out water and offer complimentary dog treats. Just don’t let the doggies indoors as it likely isn’t allowed per your city’s health codes.
  8. September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day
    Servers could don eyepatches and speak like pirates. Bartenders can offer 2-for-1 specials on all rum drinks. P.S. Located in Michigan? This is an official holiday.
  9. Early October: Oktoberfest
    Create a special menu featuring Oktoberfest brews and German bites like soft pretzels, schnitzel (fried pork), and more.
  10. November 24 (2017): Black Friday Escape
    The day after Thanksgiving means crazy shoppers are on the loose! Give them a reason to unwind afterwards at your place with crazy good restaurant promotion ideas and specials…like a Black Friday Free Fry Day. Offer free wings and fries from 5-7pm and you can almost guarantee you’ll see big happy hour crowds.
  11. Mid-December: Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
    This is one of the most fun bar and restaurant promotion ideas. Give $2 off any drink if the patron is donning a hideous sweater. Or, make it an event and send the top 3 ugliest sweater wearers home with prizes.

Reviving a piece of St. Petersburg history

Built in 1925, the Manhattan Casino is significant for its contribution to entertainment and the culture in the African American community for more than forty years.

The beautifully restored Manhattan Casino events venue is a sprawling 5,000 square feet and can fit up to 300 guests.

In late 2020, an outdoor farmers market also debuted outside the historic Manhattan Casino. Several food trucks and farmers posted up along with musicians for a local, socially-distanced celebration.

The South St. Pete Market takes place every Tuesday from 4-8pm.

“Our goal is to provide the finest ground to market goods accessibly location at the amazing Historic Manhattan Casino. We have USDA/SNAP Retailer support that will match 100% SNAP-EBT benefits.”

Watch the video: Μάνος Λοίζος - Ο Δρόμος είχε την δική του ιστορία (January 2022).