Experience the best in food from former Top Chef All-Star contestants and James Beard Award finalists as they gather and cook in an intimate cocktail-party setting at Common Threads’ World Festival on April 24. At the Liaison boutique hotel on Capitol Hill, toques get political as they descend on D.C. from across America to raise money in an effort to teach a million at-risk kids to cook.
Like most cities with spectacular culinary scenes, Washington has its share of nonprofits throwing multi-chef, small-bites galas. But, the large-scale World Festival (where festivalgoers saunter from station to station trying unique dishes with the ultimate goal of getting their food passports stamped) features two dozen nationally recognized chefs and mixologists from across the country, including North Carolina native Sam Talbot, Bun Lai of Maiya’s sushi, and Eduardo Garcia of Montana Mex, in addition to D.C. stars Mike Isabella, Scott Drewno, and Jeff Tunks. Here’s how it works: each chef is paired with a child who has learned to cook through Common Threads’ after-school program titled Cooking Skills & World Cuisine. And every week, the kids learn how to create healthy dishes from various countries allowing the chefs to see how the program is improving each child’s life.
James Beard Award-winning chef [2008’s Best Chef: South] and event co-host Michelle Bernstein, the darling of the Miami dining scene, discusses her work with Common Threads founder, former Oprah Winfrey personal chef, and fellow Top Chef Masters alum, Art Smith.
“I fell in love with Common Threads a few years ago,” Bernstein remembers of the decade-old program that teaches underserved communities serious culinary skills and how to acquire a taste for healthy foods. “When I first raised the funds to start the program in this community, it really caught fire and has developed a strong positive reputation. Most importantly, Miami-Dade County Public Schools have really helped us grow and blossom.”
Bernstein is a cornerstone of Miami cuisine, with her signature Michy’s restaurant continuing to innovate flavorful comfort food. And after more than eight years, her dishes are still satisfying palates. “Our spring menu will include roast pancetta rabbit loin with fava bean hummus and citrus, and crispy sweetbreads with English pea-basil crust and stewed tomatoes.” And the future is just as promising: “We’re working on opening a new restaurant in Miami Beach as well as renovating Michy’s this year.”
In the meantime, Bernstein will nosh on different cuisines at the festival’s numerous food stations with her co-host Carla Hall (of ABC’s The Chew). Be sure to snatch up limited-availability tickets for Common Threads’ World Festival and show your support for the positive culinary impact it has on underserved kids.
Photos Courtesy of iStock and Jeannie Necessary-Common Threads