"We became chefs because we're passionate about sharing food with our community and, to me, community is all-inclusive," says Jensen Cummings, co-owner and chef of the Slotted Spoon Meatball Eatery. "We strive to inspire kids and families across all walks of life to come together through vibrant food, joyous laughter and great memories. We want every kid to enjoy healthy food every day."
And that sentiment will be the focus of the Heroes Against Hunger block party on Saturday, between noon and 5 p.m., when Cummings, along with chefs from Elway's Cherry Creek, Corner House, Vesta Dipping Grill, twelve and Linger rally at the University of Denver's Campus Green (on Asbury Street, between York and Race) to participate in an event that will raise funds to eradicate childhood hunger.
"I was in Washington DC in June for Share Our Strength's Conference of Leaders, and I listened intently to the needs and goals of chefs from around the country," recalls Cummings. "There's so much good to be done to defeat childhood hunger," he adds, noting that "chefs can lead the charge." Heroes Against Hunger, he insists, "will answer the call, not because of one of us, but because of the combined dedication of all of us."
The block party, organized by Share Our Strength, a leading advocacy group that ensures that every child receives proper nutrition, will include food samples from chefs Tyler Wiard (Elway's); Daniel Asher (Linger); Jeff Osaka (twelve); Matt Selby (Corner House); and Brandon Foster (Vesta), coupled with salsa-making workshops and a farmers' market stand showcasing produce from Slow Food Denver's own school garden program, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, beer from Great Divide, wines from Infinite Monkey Theorem and carnival games and activities for kids.
"I, along with many chefs, have spent years cooking at Share Our Strength events like Chefs Up Front and Taste of the Nation without truly understanding the cause we were supporting, so I wanted to take a more engaged approach and saw the need for a group like the Heroes Against Hunger chefs," says Cummings, whose Slotted Spoon meatball emporium partners with Share Our Strength.
Admission to the benefit is free -- as is parking! -- but fill your pockets with a generous wad of cash for food, drinks and diversions, and just remember that every cent you spend is given to a kid that can't afford to eat the way that we do.
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"The chefs and restaurant community in Denver is so passionate and dedicated to our community and each other, and Heroes Against Hunger gives us a voice to fight childhood hunger that we can call our own. We really have an unbelievable opportunity to do some real good here in Colorado and influence the rest of the country," concludes Cummings.