nyculinaryfinds

Food treasures in New York City

NYWCA: A Professional Culinary Find

Pasta boiling on the stovetop of the JCC kitchen with salad makers in the back

Pasta boiling on the stovetop of the JCC kitchen with salad makers in the back

To commemorate Martin Luther King Day, I and 14 members of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance (NYWCA) joined together to cook for 200 women and children of a Women in Need (WIN) shelter on the upper east side. I’ve been a member of NYWCA for two years,¬† For a culinary professional living in NYC, this organization is a culinary find. The alliance celebrated it’s 30th anniversary last year.

Celebrating NYWCA's 30th anniversary with a potluck dinner

Celebrating NYWCA’s 30th anniversary with a potluck dinner

NYWCA fosters networking, education and cooperation for women in the culinary and beverage fields in the NYC area. The Alliance provides members both educational and social experiences through ongoing food and wine tastings, hands-on workshops, field trips and business-related seminars. NYWCA is also very committed to giving back through outreach programs and fund-raising for women’s health and nutrition issues. Additionally, NYWCA members work with adults and children in need to teach them the basics of nutrition, food buying and healthful meal preparation.

Cookies we baked for the WIN families

Cookies we baked for the WIN families

The MLK Day cooking was just one of the many community projects that NYWCA members take part in. This project was organized and hosted by Irene Yager, NYWCA member and Assistant Director,Culinary Arts at the JCC Manhattan.

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January 21, 2013 Posted by | charity, event, Food, volunteering | , , | Leave a comment

Finding Ways To Give Back With Food

Culinary “finds” are not just about fun places to visit or interesting stores to shop at. I’m also interested in finding ways to use my culinary knowledge and passion in helping others. I’m continually disturbed by the startling data about hunger in New York City. There are about 1.4 million New Yorkers who need the resources provided by the city’s network of food pantries and soup kitchens.

According to the recently released¬† Serving under Stress Post-Recession: The State of Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens Today, the network has shrunken, and the economic environment has reduced the amount of financial support from private and public resources. Additionally, the amount of food available for distribution has decreased while the numbers of people needing this food has increased. Forty percent of the people needing food are turned away. Increasingly it’s because there is less food to distribute. Relief efforts from Hurricane Sandy have added to this burden.

Volunteers distributing food in Coney Island

Volunteers distributing food in Coney Island

Not surprisingly, food pantries and soup kitchens have very few paid workers serving clients. They cannot get by without the support of volunteers. For the past three years I’ve served as the volunteer chef for a Thanksgiving dinner Met Council sponsors for residents of three low-income senior housing units. With the help of volunteers, I prepare food for 60 people.

Met Council volunteers preparing food for Thanksgiving dinner

Met Council volunteers preparing food for Thanksgiving dinner

You can make a difference whether you volunteer for one hour or make a weekly commitment. Here are some places and organizations that need your help:

City Harvest

City Meals on Wheels

Food Bank for New York City

Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Island Harvest

Met Council

New York City Coalition Against Hunger

December 2, 2012 Posted by | charity, Food, volunteering | | 1 Comment