Thanksgiving in August: Cook-a-thon to Raise Funds for Food Bank
It's Thanksgiving...in August! At least that's what chef Karl Wilder is planning.
In a 12-hour cook-a-thon, Wilder hopes to raise money for the San Francisco Food Bank, which has recently taken another cut from the federal government.
Wilder has teamed up with St. Luke's Church and CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services) to host the event, which is open to anyone who brings either a monetary donation or a non-perishable food donation for the Food Bank. Those attending get to try Wilder's creations -- there will be a food tasting every half hour -- and there will also be a wine tasting beginning at 5 p.m.
To keep things interesting, Wilder hopes to have a steady steam of celebrity chefs and members of the public bring him "food challenges," which he will instantly incorporate into a dish. Wilder is experienced at creative cooking, as he used to host Fusion on the Fly dinners in New York where he would make dinner out of 12 surprise ingredients in under 90 minutes. He says he's made dishes with ingredients as bizarre as sheep eyeballs.
"People always bring me durian and Spam," he says, but he's looking for bigger challenges. "I really want someone to bring something that I have absolutely no idea what to do with!"
Wilder has also been participating in a food stamps challenge for more than a month; he started on July 1 and will end at the event. Living on $1.33 per meal inspired him to host this cook-a-thon, as he realized how difficult it is to live off food stamps.
He says that the process of applying for food stamps in California involves so much convoluted paperwork that many eligible people give up, and turn instead to the Food Bank for help. Unfortunately, donations to the Food Bank tend to take a dip during the summer months before climbing during the holiday season.
"August is always a rough time," says Wilder. "We tend to forget about hungry people in August."
He hopes that everyone will take a moment to look in their cupboard and see "if they have something to spare, something to share." Living on a food stamps budget has made him realize that even a cup of coffee made at home costs $0.30, and he says, "Even a can of coffee or tuna can make a huge difference."