Empty Bowls 2013 was, perhaps, the most successful event in this fundraiser’s six-year history, according to Capital Area Food Bank staffers, many of whom have worked on the event that entire time. Each fall, hundreds of guests turn out to sample specialty soups and take home beautifully crafted pottery bowls. This year’s event included larger, special bowls that were auctioned off in a silent auction.
Two friends, Aftan Snyder and Alayna Ruberg of D.C., were among the hundreds of food bank friends who came out during their lunch hour to enjoy delicious soups provided by the area’s finest restaurants, a festive atmosphere and select from a large assortment of bowls. In addition to a delicious lunch of soup and bread, each guest left with a unique handcrafted bowl made by one of over a dozen local artists. “I really enjoyed the event and was happy to support the food bank’s amazing work in my city,” said Ruberg.
This year’s event was special in that it was the first year that the food bank welcomed an embassy chef to share a soup from his home country. We were fortunate to have the British Embassy’s head chef Craig Harnden on hand to dish out a quintessentially British fall oxtail soup with herb dumplings.
“I was going to attend anyway, but this really seals the deal!” Snyder said upon hearing about the embassy’s participation. Having Harnden and so many other great chefs from the area’s top restaurants added a special flavor to this casual lunchtime event, hosted by the FHI 360 Conference Center in Dupont Circle.
Chef Ris Lacoste of RIS restaurant and Chef Matt Baker of the Occidental Grill, both chefs with favorite eateries of D.C. residents and visitors alike, were also on hand to serve up Tom Kha Gai, a traditional Thai chicken and coconut milk soup and Cauliflower Velouté, a delicious French preparation.
Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley of the Cleveland Park eatery Ripple prepared a seasonal Cranberry Bean soup, perfect for fall and winter, which the guests loved.
A D.C. institution, Busboys and Poets, donated its signature soup—a Moroccan-inspired Harira, or fava bean soup. This comforting classic paired nicely with another vegetarian offering, red lentil soup with caraway and minted yogurt, which was presented by CAFB partner agency Food and Friends.
Geppetto Catering once again bowled over guests with its famous beef chili and cornbread (a major crowd-pleaser), while Purple Onion Catering offered its simple staple soup, purple onion bisque, which was delicious and vegetarian to boot!
Teaism, Corner Bakery and Panera Bread, all favorite lunchtime spots of the downtown working crowd, brought their signature soups to the event once again. Panera, also, generously donated its award-winning French bread. Safeway generously provided the beverages and TheBestCookie.com once again shared its delicious baked goodies (which definitely live up to their name!).