The Food & Friends 30th Anniversary Chef’s Best Dinner & Auction is on Monday, Aug. 21, celebrating service to the community, D.C.’s food and beverage industry and corporate citizenship. (Marckell Williams/The Washington Informer)
The Food & Friends 30th Anniversary Chef’s Best Dinner & Auction is on Monday, Aug. 21, celebrating service to the community, D.C.’s food and beverage industry and corporate citizenship. (Marckell Williams/The Washington Informer)

After a pandemic that shuttered restaurants, Food & Friends is celebrating the resilience of the District’s food and beverage industry, and simultaneously raising funds to continue serving Washingtonians with life-changing illnesses.

Featuring more than 35 local culinary artists and mixologists, the 30th Anniversary Chef’s Best Dinner & Auction showcases the strength of the District’s culinary landscape, honors corporate citizenship, and helps continue Food & Friends’ work in home-delivering medically tailored meals throughout the Washington area.      

“This event celebrates the amazing work of Food & Friends and honors our connection to the restaurant community, who were among our first supporters,” said Carrie Stoltzfus, Food & Friends executive director, in a statement. “We want this event to spotlight the restaurant industry’s generosity and resilient spirit.”

Over the years, Chef’s Best has helped Food & Friends raise more than $18 million to fund its work of home-delivering more than 1.65 million free meals and groceries annually, for D.C. residents with serious health challenges.  

While the organization has been successfully serving D.C.’s sick and shut-in since its inception in 1988, like much of the world, Food & Friends was forced to make some changes when COVID-19 began plaguing the District’s people and businesses.

“The pandemic changed a lot of things — people’s mindset towards their own individual health. A lot of places shut down,” said Rasheed Abdurrahman, Food & Friends’ executive chef. “Fortunately, here at Food & Friends, we have a really good staff. We like to say we’re a small organization, but we do big work. And so we were able to pivot, change some things internally — how we approach food and how we distribute our food.”

“We just keep going and we do it through the support of the community,” Abdurrahman explained of Food & Friends’ modus operandi. “We do it through support … and that’s why the Chef’s Best is going to be a great event, because that’s how we are able to continue to do the work that we do.”

Three-time James Beard finalist Chef Erik Bruner Yang of Maketto will serve as the event’s “Chef Chair,” and featured chefs include Abdurrahman, Amy Brandwein of Centrolina, Shane Mayson of Crazy Aunt Helen’s, Terri Cutrino of Hank’s Oyster Bar, Patrice Cleary of Purple Patch, and Jimmy Butler, also known as Chef JB, of Glizzys Vegan Food Company.

“Our famous uptown sauce, we’re going to have on display,” Chef JB told the Informer. “And we are giving out our vegan sausage  as well with toppings. We’re just giving a different flavor — something new for the people.”

With a location open five days a week at Sycamore & Oak in Southeast D.C., like other restaurants, participating in Chef’s Best allows Glizzys to further expand their reach and interact with customers from around the city. 

While Glizzys was founded in 2021, in the heart of the pandemic, co-founders Dontrell Britton and Nathan Headspeth said even COVID-19 couldn’t stop their idea from taking off and thriving.

“We’ve, in our personal lives, overcome so much,” Britton said.  “In business, I’ve always learned that if you can thrive in the worst economy, you can thrive anywhere. And so we got through it. And, now, to see where we are in less than two years, it’s still mind blowing for me. I’m just so grateful. I’m grateful for my chef, my team, for everything.”

In addition to the food and drink offerings from places like Glizzys, Food and Friends is also honoring Eli Lilly and Company for the decisions to reduce prices by 70% for their most prescribed insulins and cap patient out-of-pocket costs at $35 or less per month. 

“Their corporate citizenship is removing systemic barriers to health and creating affordable access to life-saving insulin for people living with diabetes,” Food & Friends wrote in a statement.

Finally, Food & Friends promises a glamorous evening at the 30th Anniversary Chef’s Best hosted at the Marriott Marquis Washington, DC.

“When you come, you won’t be disappointed, let’s put it that way,” said Abdurrahman. “And Food and Friends Chef Best is a glamor fest. People get dressed up. It’s like you have to come correct.”

It’s a chic party with a purpose, Abdurrahman explained.

“We honor ourselves, we honor the volunteers, and you know, this way that we can bring all things to the clients and take care of them throughout the year.”

For tickets and more information, visit:

WI Managing Editor Micha Green is a storyteller and actress from Washington, D.C. Micha received a Bachelor’s of Arts from Fordham University, where she majored in Theatre, and a Master’s of Journalism...

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