News

Cook It Forward: A NEW Micro-Grant Program for Alumni

Hello CulinaryCorps Alumni, Friends, and Supporters!

In anticipation of our 10-year anniversary later this year, we here at CulinaryCorps HQ have been hard at work creating a new and meaningful way for the organization to grow its mission. Today we are very pleased to announce the launch of our brand new Cook It Forward initiative. While not a traditional outreach trip, we believe this new program will create similar ripples of good through good food.

So what is it, exactly? Cook It Forward is a micro-grant program open to CulinaryCorps alumni providing $555 in seed funding to help launch an outreach project of their own. This is our small way of giving back to the over 100 chef-volunteers who have given so much over the past decade to make our organization a delicious success.

Why $555? Because our goal is to fund 5 alumni-driven projects, in 5 months with 5 hundred dollars each. Simple. And while this may not seem like a whole lot, it has the potential to be mighty. We know this from experience. In 2006, CulinaryCorps got its start with a micro-grant of $500 from the Geoffrey Roberts Foundation. With the help of each and every one of you, this small grant snowballed into an organization that has helped hundreds of people by feeding, teaching, and sharing good food.

If you have participated as a chef-volunteer on a previous CulinaryCorps trip, FAQs about the Cook It Forward program along with a link to the application can be found HERE. Applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis until up to five grants have been distributed. If you dream it, we can help fund it. So please consider applying today.

And if you have not participated on a trip but would like to support our micro-grants, please consider making a donation by choosing Cook It Forward as your program fund. All contributions, big or small, and will help keep this program running for years to come.

Please stay tuned for updates about our Cook It Forward success stories on our website. We cannot wait to share all the good news amid the amazing outreach with you, our favorite fans.

In good food and service,

Christine Carroll and the CulinaryCorps Executive Board

Looking At The Numbers

It has been almost two-years to the day since we first visited New Orleans. And having decided on that fateful weekend that, just maybe, as culinary professionals we could go beyond painting walls to give back to our communities, we are thrilled to say that these past 16 months have proven that vision to be valid. In honor of our two-year “Anniversary of Epiphany” we wanted to post a few metrics we have captured along the way:

    16 Months of Culanthropy since March 2007
    5 Trips Launched to New Orleans & MS Gulf Coast
    76 Chef Alumni Recruited
    From 16 States including Puerto Rico
    3,500+ Meals Created
    240 Students Taught
    $35,000 Raised
    2 Alumni Who Have Relocated to New Orleans
    Countless shifts in life and work to make room for community involvement
    2 CulinaryCorps Inspired Tattoos

We have a lot to be proud of and the thanks belongs to all who have stepped up, stepped out and stepped in to make it possible.

CulinaryCorps Nominated for WCR Award

It was both an honor and a surprise to be nominated for a 2008 Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Women Who Inspire Award. And it was a happy and fulfilling coincidence that the conference and award ceremony was held in New Orleans last weekend. It was wonderful to visit the city and find a place at the table with fellow award nominees including such icons as Ann Cooper (The Renegade Lunch Lady), Gale Gand and Lidia Bastianich.

The weekend also afforded the opportunity to visit with CulinaryCorps alums working at magical places and meet new folks doing good work in the Lower 9th Ward.

Plus, and not surprisingly, we ate amazingly well – caramelized cochon du lait with hominy at Bourbon House, red beans and rice (with sausage) at Fraidy’s in the Bywater and beautiful dishes during the award ceremony meal by Alison Vines-Rushing and Susan Spicer among many other talented chefs.

Our warmest congratulations to Ann Cooper, a shining example of a true citizen-chef and winner of this year’s 2008 WCR Community Service Award. We were honored to be nominated alongside our long-time inspiration and know her efforts have made great strides in changing the way we feed our children.

CulinaryCorps at TASTE 3; on Voluntourism.org; in WM Alumni News

The site has been quiet these past few months but certainly not for lack of things to write about. This summer has proven to be quite a watershed experience for CulinaryCorps and we are happy to finally find the time to report on it.

In July, we traveled to Napa Valley to speak at this year’s TASTE 3 conference, Robert Mondavi’s summit at the intersection of food, wine and art. Sharing the vision of Culanthropy and the mission of CulinaryCorps with an audience of food and wine experts was both heart-warming and inspiring. For those of you not familiar with the conference, it is safe to say it is the best kept secret of the food/wine world. Run beautifully and efficiently, the three-day event affords participants experiences like no other. The setting alone, COPIA , is worthy of a trip. After the talk, we were overwhelmed as person after person came up to us with a smile, hugged us tightly and said “thank you”. A few days later we were delighted to be on the front page of the Napa Valley Register.

Next, we were invited to speak on Voluntourism.org, a website founded by David Clemmons that helps travelers find a way to give back while exploring their destinations. Our hour-long webcast had us discussing New Orleans, our unique model of engagement and the challenges we face as as an organization that hosts chefs that are both visitors and volunteers.

And lastly, we were delighted to be interviewed by The William & Mary Alumni Magazine. Our alma mater in Williamsburg, VA and where we first got our start cooking albeit for very social reasons; to win the hearts of our freshman hall mates with fresh blueberry muffins.

CulinaryCorps Chronicles – An Introduction

Less than two days before our third group of volunteer culinary professionals joins forces in New Orleans. Once again we have an incredible group coming along. From food editors to yacht chefs, bakers to chef instructors…the diversity will be our greatest asset.

In an effort to keep our readers informed, CulinaryCorps.org has decided to chronicle each day of the trip complete with pictures. So stop by as often as you can to get a behind the scenes glimpse of CulinaryCorps in action!

“Be A New Orleanian…

…wherever you are.”

That is the mantra of Dirty Coast – graphic gurus and generous t-shirt sponsors of our upcoming trip. We fell in love with a couple of their food-related tees. We think you will too!

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Farm Aid Rocked

Thanks to those of you who stopped by to try one of our Iced Cafe Au Laits! We hope that everyone fell as hard for the Cool Brew concentrate/ Ronnybrook milk duo as we did.

And huge thanks to our tremendous booth volunteers who spent from dawn until dusk slinging our caffeine concoctions.

In the end, the day’s work helped to not only raise funds for the organization but raise awareness about CulinaryCorps’ efforts in New Orleans. Thanks to all who helped make the booth a reality…and to those who bought a cup or two at the concert!

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Visit Us at Farm Aid!

CulinaryCorps is proud to be a part of this year’s Farm Aid concert, Sunday, September 9th on Randall’s Island here in New York City.

We’ll be selling New Orleans Iced Cafe au Lait to the over 35,000 concert goers at our very own CulinaryCorps vending booth! All proceeds from the sales will go towards our two upcoming outreach trips to New Orleans.

We could not have even imagined pulling off this exciting endeavor without the help of our incredible sponsors, Cool Brew and Ronnybrook Farm Dairy. Both companies have gone above and beyond to ensure that this booth will be a success and we cannot thank them enough.

So if you’re at the concert, come on by and have yourself a cold one (cold coffee that is.) And if you can’t make it to Farm Aid…support our sponsors by falling in love with their amazing products.

Read our Farm Aid Press Release for more details.  And click on the icons below to support the people behind this year’s Cafe au Lait.

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Seven Hundred and Thirty Days…

…of challenges, courage, compassion and hope.

Our hearts and minds turn to the dedicated citizens of New Orleans today.  We wish them a moment of peace to reflect on their everyday heroics and thank them for the example they have set for us all during these two years of rebirth.

“Learn from yesterday.   Live for today.  And hope for tomorrow.”   (Albert Einstein)