Metro Weekly

Food & Friends Puts the City’s Best Food Forward at Chef’s Best

Chef Chair Derek Watson will oversee dozens of palate-worthy participants at the food-focused organization’s 31st annual gala.

Chef's Best 2019 - Photo: Ward Morrison
Chef’s Best 2019 – Photo: Ward Morrison

As D.C. soirees go, Chef’s Best may be the sweetest and savoriest of them all.

The annual gala benefiting Food & Friends will mark its 31st year of cuisine and cocktails on Thursday, June 13, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, raising money to continue its mission of providing medically tailored meals, gratis, to thousands of clients living with serious illness.

“We are so honored to have community support and to continue the amazing work that we have done over the past three decades,” said Food & Friends Executive Director Carrie Stoltzfus in a statement announcing this year’s highlights.

“Chef’s Best is the standout culinary event of the summer, and we can’t wait to see old friends and new faces that will help us to serve people and families in the greater Washington region.”

When Stoltzfus refers to the greater Washington region, that may be an understatement.

While Food & Friends’ roots go back to Westminster Presbyterian Church where, in 1988, volunteers began an effort to deliver nutritious meals to D.C. locals suffering from AIDS-related illnesses, the organization now serves clients across a 6,100 square-mile area.

But the focus will be squarely on the Convention Center come June 13, with dozens of venues serving up samples of their chefs’ best, from Anju’s contemporary Korean to Opal’s coastal Americana.

Chef Derek Watson, most recently executive chef at Nama Ko, will oversee the benevolent buffet as this year’s “chef chair.” Be warned that a band of merry mixologists will be on hand to keep the event well-lubricated, as Food & Friends has had great luck over the years in securing incredibly talented auctioneers who will end the evening with an array of offerings.

Notably, this year’s program also includes special recognition of the Xi Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, whose members have been volunteering with Food & Foods for the past quarter-century.

The 31 st Annual Chef’s Best Dinner & Auction is Thursday, June 13, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Pl. It begins with Gourmet Chef Tastings Reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m., followed by Dessert, Program & Live Auction at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $350. Call 202-269-2277 or visit

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