Yesterday evening, Kamari and I headed over to Willow Restaurant in Arlington for a fundraiser thrown by the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR) in partnership with Visa Signature, in support of WCR’s scholarship, internship and mentorship programs for women in the culinary arts.
With a roster that included many DC-area notables, the women of the WCR calendar (available for purchase on the WCR Web site or by calling 877-927-7787) including Ris Lacoste (Rock Creek), Nora Pouillon (Restaurant Nora) and one of my personal favorites, Ruth Gresser (Pizzeria Paradiso) the event drew a tremendous crowd of over 400 foodies from the greater DC area who were treated to a collection of mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres and a fantastic collection of wines, beers and spirits courtesy of the women chefs and restaurateurs in the area.
We arrived about 20 minutes before the evening’s highlight, which involved the granting of a unique grand prize – 12 months of personal chefs experiences from the WCR calendar gals. There was some pretty good stuff on the grand prize schedule including a two-night stay at Camp Lansdowne in Virginia, a private session with the Black’s team on how to select clean and prepare fish, and a variety of other parties and classes from the WCR team.
After the prize giveaways we spent some time chatting with the various chefs and restaurateurs at the event including Elin Ross, executive director from a non-profit called Cakes for Cause, which provides training for youth who are being served in public housing or who are in foster care in the state of Maryland, Laurie Weber from the Swiss Bakery and Jeff and Barbara Black from the Black restaurants (Black Market Bistro, Black’s Bar & Kitchen, BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant).
On an interesting side note, Jeff Black got a phone call from the BlackSalt restaurant manager while at the event because apparently Billy Corrigan was enjoying the area’s top sea food at BlackSalt and wanted to meet the owner.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen DC’s repertoire of top-shelf restaurants grow at a steady pace (i.e. Hook, BlackSalt) and although it’s no secret that DC is growing as a hotbed of culinary activity, not everyone realizes the strong female representation behind this movement.
Looks like the secret’s out.