Tastes From Near and Far

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Tastes From Near and Far Every year, the Blue Jeans Ball brings together chefs from all over the D.C. area to share their flair and their fare to help eradicate hunger, and guests are always impressed with the variety of food and drink.

And it’s no wonder. Chefs who grace the glamorous ballroom at the Marriott Wardman Park with their specialties come with history and experience from all over the world.

Matt Baker, newest Chef de Cuisine at Occidental Grill & Seafood has an adventurous spirit and specializes in fresh, locally sourced food in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Chef Baker oversees the team of two chefs and four cooks who spend a few days prepping the menu for the charity event, and says he loves supporting the cause.

“We really connect with CAFB’s vision that access to nutritious food is a basic human right. We are grateful our customers have the resources to enjoy fine dining but understand the needs of our fellow man who may not be as fortunate,” says the Virginia native.

Baker and several other staff from the Occidental can even be seen at the Capital Area Food Bank on their days off, donating time in one of our many volunteer programs.

Edward Dean, owner of Sangam Catering International, brings a different kind of experience to the Capital Area Food Bank tasting event. Head of personnel for almost 20 years at the U.S. Embassy in India starting in the 1960s, and then expert with the World Bank for 20 years following that, Dean has gathered his wealth of culinary knowledge through travel.

“Our signature dish is Butter Chicken; it creates long lines at the Blue Jeans Ball!” Dean has noticed over the years that the community has become more health conscious.

“We make a vegan salad with chickpeas, lemon and Indian spices which is becoming more and more popular,” he says.

Dean has been serving up his delicious food at the signature fundraising event “since day one.” He always seems to be sharing his award-winning dishes with schools, churches and his community, because it gives him “good vibes, and good relationships.”

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