This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
YONKERS N.Y. -- About 25 years ago, in 1990, I got a call from a woman named Claire Insalata Poulos asking if I'd be interested in participating in a hunger relief project centered in Englewood, New Jersey, in collaboration with the national organization, Share our Strength (SOS) .
The idea was to host and cook for 400 to 500 guests whom would pay a considerable amount to attend a dinner prepared by five of the area’s leading chefs and the proceeds would go to feed the hungry. I immediately said yes not realizing that this would begin a relationship that would last - and strengthen -- over the years.
Out of those first dinners Table to Table was born, eventually spinning off from the national SOS foundation so that we could concentrate solely on hunger relief in our immediate area rather than nationally.
Corporate sponsors got on board including American Express, M&T Bank, Inserra Super Markets and several others, allowing Table to Table to grow and reach its goals of rescuing food and delivering it to the most needy among us.
Table to Table is a community- based food rescue program that collects prepared and perishable food that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations that serve the hungry.
They “rescue” food from about 200 donors (supermarkets, distributors, restaurants) and deliver it the same day free of charge to more than 80 community organizations including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, after-school programs and homes for the elderly.
Over these past 25 years I have been honored to introduce a variety of food world celebrities that have helped Table to Table raise the needed funds to do their great work. Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Eric Ripert, Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent, David Burke, Thomas Keller and several others have all been part of the Table to Table family over the years.
Every organization needs a leader; Claire Insalata Poulos has been that leader and her work has resulted in more than 125 million meals being served during her tenure. I couldn't thank her more for her hard work and dedication and feel honored to be a part of this great organization.
Go to www.tabletotable.org/ for more information.