“Top D.C. chefs get asked to do this stuff all the time. My job is to help them see how important it is for them and the community to help out an organization as important as the food bank,” says Anthony Hesselius.
The 10th Annual Blue Jeans Ball is the largest fundraiser for the Capital Area Food Bank, and has earned a reputation over the years as the go-to, casual-dress event with the best variety of food.
“This is a natural for chefs, though, because they earn their living feeding people,” offers the Linda Roth Associates VP who represents some of D.C.’s top restaurants. “There are many chefs who are eager to come back to support the event every year, who take the message of the food bank to heart.”
Jeff Buben, chef and owner of two prestigious restaurants, Vidalia and Bistro Bis and the brand new Woodward Table, has enjoyed serving guests of the fundraiser for years now, and served as an inspiration for some chefs at first unfamiliar with the Blue Jeans Ball.
“The chef community now knows about the Blue Jeans Ball, because people like Jeff talk about taking part, and others want to be like him, so they jump on board,” says Hesselius. “They realize there is such potential for them to give back to the community.”
The tasting event includes live music, silent and live auctions, as well as special guests including celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn.
Restaurants started signing on to the March 24 fundraiser back in October. For the fifth year in a row, Hesselius volunteers his expertise and contacts for the benefit of the Capital Area Food Bank and the people it serves. Thanks to him, guests will be nibbling on savory meals from restaurants such as Del Frisco’s Grille, EPIC Smokehouse, RIS, The Fourth Estate at the National Press Club, The Melting Pot and a variety of other restaurants.
Almost 1,000 hungry guests are expected at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel to help those suffering from hunger in the Washington metro region.
Fundraisers in the District all have their own personalities. But this one — where guests wear denim and mingle while munching — is the one near and dear to Hesselius’ heart. “Wearing a tux? No, that’s not what the food bank is all about,” he says.