Martha’s Table and D.C. Central Charity Event
by Filippo Bartolotta
I feel good! We have increased the donation of a 40% from last year: $140.00o to benefit Martha’s Table and D.C. Central Kitchen. And the overall spirit and participation was even higher!
What a great energy and how much love! Sooooooo glad to be part of this. Our dinner last night with Roberto Donna and Jeff Buben was a blast! Not only everyone had the chance to speak at the table and to connect on the Martha's Table and DC Central Kitchen issues but also the mood and the spirit were phenomenal and the matching food and wine worked to perfection.
Although complex, this charity machine must be the most fun in the world! I love the contrast between the super powerful international bonding and cross-pollination ground and the very intimate nature of the final Sunday Supper event, where only up to 30 guests per house share this experience. This generates always new energy, new solutions to big problems!
My self and my team at LeBaccanti, Italian Wine Merchants, our wine makers and food producers are nothing but proud to be part of this Washington D.C. family.
Let's get to the diary.
Like always it all starts from Joan Nathan's home. We meet there to work, co-ordinate, cook, share and taste food.
From the head quarters everything moves. So on Saturday night we all go to Greg Nelson and JosÃ¨ Cannigham for the SATURDAY NIGHT SIPS.
This two wonderful host live in an amazing house down town in D.C. and they are always very kind to offer their space for charity purposes.
But the best part of it is that they are totally committed to it. And so they run about preparing, dressing the tables and everything.
We share the room with Graham Bartlett, Chef at Zengo. PS: Thank you for feeding us your great creations.
at 1830 the first guests turn up and by eight o'clock we have 250 people!
Everyone mingles and chats about the charity, nutrition issues, food and wine.
I believe with Italy at Your Table this year I got the best Fine Wine and Food Selection ever, and great artisan pieces.
The Italy at Your Table Selection is available atÂ Italian Wine Merchants. Collectors may purchase just a few bottles or the full ItalyatYourTable case of:Â Bellavista,Â Graziano Pra,Â Romano Dal Forno,Â Luciano Sandrone,Â ProprietÃ Sperino,Â Castello di Romitorio, Isole e Olena,Â Fattoria delle Ripalte,Â Fontodi,Â Feudi di San Gregorio, Petra and Arnaldo Caprai; then Modica chocolateÂ Bonajuto,Â theÂ Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico Giuseppe Giusti andÂ Galleria Frilli art works.
Alice Waters and JosÃ¨ Andres turn up at our wine and food station to try Italy at Your Table selection.
I loved it as they made it their room for a good part of the evening.
JosÃ¨ is thrilled by our wines and seems to be liking also the Bonajuto's Modica chocolate and the Giusti Balsamic vinegar.
Although hectic the Saturday Night Sips is maybe the most buzzing part of this charity and it helps getting more and more people exposed to the issues of the charity and to the great products and dishes brought to talk about this.
The topic moment of the evening though is without doubts the speeches of the souls and minds of this great endeavor:
Joan Nathan, Alice Waters, JosÃ¨ Andres.
They talk and inspire everyone, they stand and address issues that really counts and they give a purpose to all the efforts behind the charities.
I also appreciated a lot the unfiltered presentation of the founder of D.C. Central -Robert Egger who started this charity 20 years ago using the over 20 tons of food that would go to waste to prepare 4.000 meals a day, everyday!!!
It's late at night and for us time to go to bed as in the morning we have a Radio Show to attend: The Foodie and the Beast on Federalnewsradio 1500 AM, with Nycci and DavidNellis.I met this lovely couple last year during the Sips but I couldn't go on-air as I had to go to Kansas City for an Italy at your Table event with Gina & Kevin!This year Gina and Kevin are going for another round of Italy at Your Table and I look forward to it!Nycci and David love Italy and...I can tell...they love their Radio Show...the best in town
I spent the whole morning with them and other guests among them Aviva Goldber of The Six O'Clock Scrable.Aviva came with her son Salomn to inspire ideas for quick and healthy dinners. Watch this space as Aviva and I will try to combine some Italian Insights to her great preparations!I can't believe I was given the chance to open Italy at Your Table Wine and Foods throughout the show, but it was great.The best part? When I was able to shave some Bonajuto's Modica Chocolate and Giusti Balsamic Vinegar on the super delicious Pink Berry Yogurt on Air with President Ron Graves calling form California! Then matching it with our soft and balance wines together with Ellen Grey from Equinox!Finished the Radio Show we are off to deliver wines to five remaining houses or the Sunday Suppers.I love this part, although not always easy for an Italian driving around D.C. I mean Downtown even a kid can do it as the streets go from 1 to 30 and A to Z!Then if you get stuck in Chevy Chase it's like being in a forrest packed with beautiful fairy tale wooden homes, but the street can look pretty similar!Todd Grey from Equinox and Scott Drewno from Wolfgang Puck's Resors, cooking at the Benton's.Then Fabio Trabocchi from Fiola Restaurant and my friend Nick Wisemann from Roadside organics, cooking at the Kelly'sFinally we made it to our "home" at the Fabry/Klein house!Joan and Mike had me as a guest also last year and they have being all the more wonderful this time.Quite proudly I managed to get 7/10 of Mike's jokes, the rests remain a big mystery:)We go straight to prepare the wines.The two chefs of the evening were Robeto Donna from Galileo III and Jeff Buben from Vidalia.This two great master Chefs were really cool! At first I though I was gonna get in trouble as they were seriously engaged by the preparations.Then they see what kind of wines ad foods I brought with me and they begun to be more friendly. By the end of the night I was opening my wines while they were finishing off their dishes!Roberto and Jeff have being competing all night with roberto saying the Jeff was stealing Italian recipes from him and turn them into french dishes:))Jeff was telling Roberto to stay away from his dishes as he was scared Roberto was going to sabotage his creations!What a night!I finally managed to take out of the Kitchen and everyone applauded to the two stars of the evening: well deserved.On a last note I have to say how impressive the matching food and wine went considering that we designed it separated by the big Ocean!People loved the pairing and listening to the stories of our wine makers, food producers and artisans that I was reporting during the dinner.Incredible as it might sound I discovered that the Frilli Gallery from Florence -one of Italy at Your Table supporter- made a few statues on the Washington Arlington Bridge.This helped a lot for the guest to enjoy and appreciate Michelangelo's Bacchus made by the gallery over a replica from the original Pietro da Barga in the 16th Century!Thanks everyone for the great support!