Back in March, Spike Mendelsohn, the former “Top Chef” competitor behind Good Stuff Eatery and We, the Pizza, handed over his tomato sauce recipe to D.C. Central Kitchen. His goal? For the nonprofit organization to practice and perfect the sauce and then to produce the 18 gallons a day that the Capitol Hill pizzeria needs to satisfy its customers.
The arrangement might sound unusual, but with any luck it won’t be the only deal that the ever-evolving D.C. Central Kitchen strikes with star chefs.
Called “a great partner” by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the 22-year-old anti-hunger organization has been hailed nationally for its innovative and multi-pronged approach to social enterprise. Every day, the agency cranks out 4,800 meals, mostly with donated food, and delivers them to area homeless shelters and social service agencies, all while training ex-offenders and former drug addicts to become cooks. Over the past decade, it has also built a profitable side business called Fresh Start Catering. In the past two years, while job prospects in many American communities have withered, Fresh Start has been adding employees to serve a growing commercial demand for locally sourced cuisine.