Category Archives: fundraisers

Hunger Action Week

Just a couple of months ago, I was asked to judge a Top Chef Challenge. It was such a fun and rewarding event led by acclaimed Seattle Chef and entrepreneur Tom Douglas and supporting the United Way of King County’s mission to take action and end hunger. Proceeds from the guests totaled nearly $100,000. This event was a Top Chef Executive Contest using food that can be found at food banks. Local executives competed with the help of Tom Douglas Restaurant’s chefs to prepare the best dishes. The winning team was team 2 made up of Audrey Jones Spence, executive chef of Serious Pie and Fred Devereux, west region president, AT&T.

Here are the teams.

Team 1

Jonah Smith, executive soux chef, Tom Douglas Restaurants

Kimberly Harris, president and CEO of Puget Sound Energy

Food prepared: chicken bites

Team 2

Audrey Jones Spence, executive chef, Serious Pie

Fred Devereux, west region president, AT&T

Food prepared: potato latkes

Team 3

Matt Anderson, chef, Tom Douglas Catering

Maud Daudon, president and CEO, Seattle-Northwest Securities Corporation

Food prepared: chicken schnitzel

Team 4

Stacy Fortner, executive pastry chef, Tom Douglas Restaurants

Eric Johnson, news anchor, KOMO 4 TV

Food prepared: gnocchi, rice pudding, peanut butter cookies


photo credit: Jake Monderen

All this led up to Hunger Action Week coming up soon (March 19 to March 24). You can decide to take the hunger challenge by trying to spend only 7$ a day on food. Do you want to take the challenge? Here is a little information that United Way of King County has provided about the hunger challenge.

What are the rules?
• Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, spending only $7 a day (or more if your household is larger (see table below). We chose these amounts because they are the maximum food benefits that people can get on Basic Food. While Basic Food is designed to be a supplement to food budgets, the reality is that many rely solely on their benefits for food because they don’t have enough money to handle food as well as all the other life expenses that they need to take care of.
• Don’t forget to factor in seasonings (except salt & pepper), cooking oils, condiments, snacks, drinks, and everything in between
• Don’t use food you already own
• Don’t’ accept food from family, friends, co-workers and others. Not even free samples from Costco!
• Try to include fresh produce and healthy protein each day
• Keep track of your expenses, your recipes, and share your experiences on your blog. You can also let us know how it’s going on Facebook and Twitter @UnitedWayKC hashtag: #hungerfreekc

I’d like to emphasize that the rules are made to be guidelines. The point is to get people thinking about the challenge of hunger in everyday life, not necessarily to mimic hunger. Please feel free to use these rules but also feel free to modify them as you think is best – for example if you just want to do the challenge one or two days, etc.

This table shows how much allowance you’re allowed depending on family size:

Household Size Hunger Challenge Budget
1 $7 per day/$35.00 per week
2 $12 per day/$60.00 per week
3 $18 per day/$90.00 per week
4 $22 per day/$110.00 per week
5 $26 per day/$130.00 per week
6 $32 per day/$160.00 per week
7 $35 per day/$175.00 per week

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Bloggers without Borders and a Pie for Mikey

I am quite a positive person. That is something that I have learned to be. When bad things happen, I tend to look for on the bright side. When bad things happen to people I know, I always think to myself, well you only get things that you can handle. I imagine that maybe up there in the sky, someone is handing out circumstances. Like someone is saying to themselves “I have 20 of these situations, I will give them to the strong people.” Let me just explain, I don’t really do anything religious (haven’t been to a temple in more years than I am an adult) but I do believe that things work out in the end. And I do believe that we learn to deal with whatever comes our way. So when I hear a story about loss or hurt or families torn apart, I try to rationalize it but for a very long time, it hangs over my head like a cloud, I go on with my day but there are moments where I just think about it. And nights, that is when it seems to come back into my heart. This year has been full of tough moments, but as I am a private person, I tend to keep these moments to myself.

Just a little while ago one tweet broke my heart. It was from a food blogger that I have been following for years, Jennifer Perillo from In Jennie’s Kitchen. I have been following Jennie and reading her blog, and we have had a few tweets back and forth, but I don’t know her personally.

The one thing I remember is her writing in a post where she talks about her daughter’s breath, I was a new mother at the time, hormonal and exhausted but one paragraph just rang true in my mind.

The way the Virginia pops up in her crib, all sleepy-eyed and joyfully squeals “Mama” is better than a steaming cup of coffee. The smell of Isabella’s morning breath. Well, call me crazy, but I’ve loved it ever since she was a baby.

To this day, every time my son wakes up, I think of how much I love his morning breath, as weird it sounds, I can’t believe that I created him. It’s strange what you remember from people’s posts but when you find something in common with someone that writes, your heart feels like it belongs.

Just over a week a go, when Jennie tweeted something vague about someone being gone, my heart hurt, but when I heard it was her husband, who had a sudden heart attack, the thoughts have not left me since. She is now left with her two girls to take care of and the love of her life is gone. This is one of those times, when it is hard to see the light, but of course I know that she will move on. All she asked after this tragedy was for people to bake a pie for their loved ones and it seemed like instantly people were warming their kitchens, clasping their loved ones and baking pies for Mikey.

That is all Jennie asked for in her hard times, for you to bake for someone you love.

This week, a non-profit called Bloggers without Borders was started by the amazing Three Many Cooks. They started this organization to help bloggers in need, to bring bloggers together and this week everyone is rallying together to help Jennifer. There are beautiful auction prizes, a place to make donations and everyone can give what they can.

Here is where you can donate if you are able to, follow #afundforjennie for the awesome auction prizes or just check out Jennie’s blog and show your support

Donate to Bloggers Without Borders

This is one of those reminders that life is short, cherish what you have. Take a moment to enjoy the little things in life; love, the people around you, people that care and even morning breath.

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