This past Monday, we popped open “Cafe Una Notte,” or One Night Cafe. When I say we popped it open, I mean literally, we popped up a restaurant out of nowhere. And boy what a night it was. The event was a fund-raiser to benefit my nonprofit organization, Yum-o! and in keeping with the charity’s mission, we flew in 5 high-schoolers, who each has their own passion for the kitchen. Brett Bush, Aria Anatasio, Bernie Roels, Chloe Langis, and Rhiannon Wildman. These kids worked for three days under the guidance of iron chef Michael Symon to create a fantastic feast that blew away professional chefs like Mario Batali and Bobby Flay. Over 70 people came to the event, including President Bill Clinton who gave an inspirational speech on childhood obesity and how his organization, The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, is aligned with our goals at Yum-o! in trying to bring better food choice to kids and families.
Anyway, back to the kids. They worked their tails off and produced an amazing night for everyone, complete with an orange and white, fondant-covered cake that looked so professionally done that no one could believe a 17 year old (Aria) did it! At the end of the evening, we surprised each of the kids with a $10,000 scholarship.
I am proud to say that due to the event, donations from friends and strangers alike, and the proceeds from my new cook book, The Yum-o! Family Cookbook, we are one step closer to achieving the three main goals of the organization-a) bringing awareness to people by getting kids and families in the kitchen, b) literally feeding hungry kids through our partnerships with organizations like Share Our Strength and City Harvest and c) giving scholarships to kids who want to pursue a career in the culinary fields.
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Here’s a pic of President Clinton and me with the kids at the event: