Despite the recent controversy surrounding former executive director (and now-resigned Lawrence mayor) Jeremy Farmer, a spokesperson for Just Food says the food bank is still moving forward with its upcoming Chef’s Table fundraiser.
“This dinner is important now more than ever as we serve 140 to 200 families a day,” Just Food interim director Elizabeth Keever said in an email.
The event, which is slated for 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Cider Gallery, will feature a six-course meal (with wine pairings) prepared by some of Lawrence’s most celebrated chefs.
That list includes: Rick Martin and Mike Humphrey from Limestone Pizza; T.K. Peterson of Merchants Pub and Plate; Ken Baker formerly of Pachamamas; Zach Thompson of 715; and Vaughn Good and Jay Tovar-Ballagh of Hank Charcuterie.
Tickets for the Chef’s Table event are still available as of Wednesday afternoon and cost $100 for general admission and $800 for an eight-seat table, with proceeds going toward Just Food.
For more information, including where to buy tickets, visit the Just Food website.
Some of Lawrence's best and brightest culinary minds are coming together to raise money for the Sunrise Project.
The Lawrence organization, which garnered its nonprofit status earlier this year, aims to "provide education and community engagement around the intersection of food, the environment and social justice," according to its website.
A Chefs' Table Dinner fundraiser, scheduled for May 12 at the Lied Center Pavilion, will entail a "seasonal, locally sourced and inspired five-course menu" created by Lawrence chefs.
The roster of participating chefs includes T.K. Peterson of Merchants; Vaughn Good of Hank Charcuterie; Rick Martin of Limestone Pizza; Zach Thompson of 715; Jay Tovar-Ballagh of Hank Charcuterie and Limestone Pizza; and Ken Baker of the now-closed Pachamamas.
No details yet on what will be served, but we'll keep you updated. To receive an invitation for the meal, email email@example.com.
Meanwhile, Liberty Hall is hosting a special screening of "Growing Cities," a 2013 documentary about the role of urban farming in America, at 4 p.m. Sunday as part of the Sunrise Project’s fundraising efforts.
Sunday's screening will be followed by dinner from 23rd Street Brewery, after which attendees can stick around to hear a panel discussion with leaders from the worlds of food and social justice.
Proceeds from the event will go toward the establishment of Sunrise Project and securing space at the former Sunrise Garden Center, which organizers envision as the site of a community greenhouse and educational workshops.
The garden center, located near 15th and New York streets, has been vacant since 2013.
(You may remember hearing this first from Chad Lawhorn, who chronicled the group's beginnings in his Town Talk blog last month.)
Tickets for Sunday's screening event, which cost $40, can be purchased at the Liberty Hall website or box office, 644 Massachusetts St. For more information about the group and its fundraising efforts, check out Sunrise Project's Facebook page.
For the last five years, Topeka resident Betty Jane Moore has celebrated her birthday with dinner at her favorite restaurant: Pachamamas in downtown Lawrence.
This year, she's turning 100, and though the big day officially falls on Feb. 24, Moore and her family have scheduled reservations at Pachamamas for Saturday.
The iconic Lawrence eatery will close its doors for good this Valentine's Day, and the soon-to-be centenarian was more than willing to have her birthday dinner there a few weeks early, says Hilary Edwards, Moore's granddaughter.
"We've been calling it bittersweet," Edwards says."It's so wonderful to celebrate her birthday there, but to never be able to go again... What are we going to do next year when she turns 101?"
Edwards, who started the tradition when Moore turned 95, says the staff at Pachamamas has always treated her grandmother "like royalty." Former Pachamamas pastry chef Jay Tovar-Ballagh, now at Hank Charcuterie, made her a special dessert every year and always stepped out of the kitchen to wish Moore a happy birthday.
On Saturday, Ken Baker will also create a special dish for Moore based on her favorite flavors (probably a mixed grill of beef, pork and salmon, he says) as will current Pachamamas pastry chef Sam Hupp.
Knowing that Moore and her family chose to celebrate her 100th birthday at his restaurant, despite its closing weeks before the actual day, is "amazing," Baker says.
"It's difficult for me to hear that, but at the same time, it makes me feel pretty good about what we've been doing the last 15 years," he says. "From the outside looking in, I've realized there's a lot of people who really care about this place."
"Soigne as Fudge," Pachamamas' sold-out dinner slated for Thursday evening, isn't farewell, promises Ken Baker.
The event, billed as a "tribute to Pachamamas" comes on the heels of the announcement of the restaurant's likely closing. Last month, chef/owner Baker told the Journal-World he would close Pachamamas if a buyer isn't found.
"I’m not trying to say goodbye," he says. "It’s a different era."
Nor is it a eulogy to the restaurant, as its name suggests.
He sees the seven-course dinner (priced at $125 per person, including wine pairings, plus tax) as a celebration. Nine of Baker's foodie friends helped create the menu, and come Thursday, will make the trip to Pachamamas to cook it.
"It's a tribute to all the people who have worked here, all the customers, all the chefs who are passionate about food," says Baker, who is excited to reunite with Pachamamas alums and culinary peers.
The list of participating chefs includes some pretty big names from the area's restaurant scene. James Beard Award winner Colby Garrelts (Kansas City's Bluestem and Rye restaurants) and chef Howard Hanna (Ça Va and The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange in K.C.), are among those preparing food. Former Pachamamas sous chefs Vaughn Good (Hank's Charcuterie) and Quillan Glynn (Pizzabella in K.C.) are also participating.
Thursday's soiree will include a reception with the chefs at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. If you didn't snag tickets, Baker says to make sure to stop by Pachamamas sometime soon. The restaurant will remain open full-time until Valentine's Day.
"Our client base is really important to me," he says. "I'd like to see as many of them as possible."
Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.
Foodies, mark your calendars. There's some pretty fun-sounding dining, beer and wine events coming up. Here goes:
Sept. 27: Terrebonne fish fry
The folks from Terrebonne Po' Boys and Desserts will be manning the fryer at Abe & Jake’s Catfish Fry to benefit Friends of the Kaw. The event starts at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St. A $10 cover gets you admission and food. The event will feature river inspired artwork, Kansas Riverkings artifacts and live music from the Brody Buster Band.
Oct. 3: British mixer
Brits, Queen Lizzy’s Catering and On the Rocks liquor store are teaming up on an event at the Castle Tea Room. Mixer, Mixer is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in the courtyard at the Castle, 1307 Massachusetts St. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online here. British-y fare like scotch eggs and sausage is on the menu, to be washed down with British-y libations like gin, imported colas and ginger beer.
Oct. 5: Port Fonda hits the road
Port Fonda — one of Kansas City’s most buzzed-about restaurants right now — is bringing its edgy Mexican fare westward for a pregame tailgate at the Oread. The Port Fonda Tailgate is before the KU-Texas Tech football game Oct. 5. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Expect street-style Mexican food and drinks, Free State beer and DJ Ashton. Time TBD — check Port Fonda’s Facebook page for updates.
Oct. 17: Free State beer dinner
Pachamama's is planning a Free State beer dinner Oct. 17. Looks like the time hasn’t been set yet, but if you’re interested I suggest blocking off the evening and calling Pachamama's (841-0990) for reservations sooner rather than later — seats at Free State beer dinners go fast these days, and good food and good beer is sure to be had there. Cost is $75 per person.
Oct. 19: Feast of the Fields
Pachamama's chef Ken Baker is taking his culinary show on the road to prepare the farm-to-table meal for the next Feast of the Fields at River Creek Farms outside Manhattan. The dinner is set for 5 p.m. Oct. 19 inside the farm’s 1876 limestone barn. On Friday, there were still tickets left, which can be purchased online here for $100 per person.
Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at email@example.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.