Charleston Grill's Mickey Bakst held a press conference earlier today at the Riviera where he assembled an entire auditorium full of chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, educators, and caterers who will be a part of Charleston Chefs Feed the Need. The goal: working with four local charities to prepare food once a week to help feed the growing ranks of hungry folks.
The four charities are Crisis Ministries, East Cooper Meals on Wheels, Tricounty Family Ministries, and Neighborhood House.
Mickey has spent the last few months calling friends and colleagues around town and asking them to join his effort. At the conference, he said everyone in the room volunteered their time and money without hesitation. Nobody in the room said "I can't."
Of course, some people in town obviously said they couldn't based on the list of participants. There are some notable absences. But we'll forgive Bob Carter at Peninsula Grill for his name not being listed — we know he spends a good chunk of time every single year organizing the whiz-bang Chef's Feast, which raises gobs of money for Crisis Ministries' Kids Cafe. Mickey admits he didn't get to everybody and says they are still actively looking for participants. So if you didn't get a call, Mickey hopes you'll call him at the Grill and pledge your services.
Mickey went on to say, in a very heartfelt way, that he was honored to stand with the folks assembled. "I believe in the power of we!"
The list of participants is impressive and includes a nice cross section from the entire industry. Jim and Jason Stalker from Vickery's were there along with Sermet Aslan from Sermet's and Richard Jerue of the Art Institute and Michael Saboe of the Culinary Institute.
In other words, it's not just the fine dining crowd.
The program kicks off on Wed. April 22 with Charleston Grill preparing food for Tricounty Ministries. And each Wed. from there on out will feature a chef or organization donating their time and food to one of the charities. The food will prepared at their own location and delivered to the charity that Wednesday. Mickey said he hopes most places will send their staff to help serve, since that will make them even more connected to what they're doing.
Ultimately, he expects to serve more than 20,000 meals over the next year and hopes to roll out this program nationally.