Good Things Are Happening at SED

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Yesterday, I attended the dedication of the Spanish Education Development Center (SED) in Petworth … it's a non-profit educational organization that has provided child development and adult education programs in Washington for low income residents of Washington DC for over 37 years. I was asked by Jennifer Lehman of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) to visit their new facility on Kansas Ave.where she volunteers … its' a three-story 24,000 square foot Art Deco former warehouse. It is also an amazing physical example of the collaboration of business, community, individuals and government and how they can come together for the good of the people of Washington.

OK, what's the food connection. There's always a food link … I immediately ran into Gus DiMillo and David Wizenberg of Passion Food Hospitality who provided the food for the opening reception. I saw Greg Casten, principal of PROFISH and restaurateur, who is the current chairman of the Education Foundation of RAMW. There is the opportunity to bring foodservice training to SED for the adult community. I saw Michael Cucciardo who teaches hospitality in the Washington school system … it's always about education.

We like to tell people restaurants are the cornerstone of the American community. Even better we like to act it out with our deeds.

I go to lots of ribbon cutting events … hard core journalists won't cover them … not edgy enough. I thought it was pretty cool to have the four-year-old's class lead the pledge of allegiaSED 03 0209nce. I thought it was a strong statement from the business community with the presence of Raymond Ritchey of Boston Properties, the Clark Construction folks, Pillsbury and a 100 or more supporters on hand. Muriel Bowser the DC Councilmember for Ward 4 was there to represent her constituents. Mayor Fenty was supposed to speak but I guess he was trying to figure out why the Metro system was once again grinding to a halt. They say he did arrive after the program was over and they even retied the ribbon and let him play the game of cutting it in round two for his photo op.

What I thought was impressive was the presence of Michael Strautmanis from President Obama's Office of Public Liaison who wanted to remind us once again that the
President is serious about being a member of our local community and that his commitment to community service is our commitment. I was thinking how proud I am to be a part of the restaurant world … we are all about community service.

So that was yesterday … tonight I'll be seeing many of my chef friends at The Ritz-Carlton Washington to "Turn Up the Heat!" for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Thursday night it will be the 18th Annual Chocolate Affair for Health Care for ther Homeless at the M&T Bank Stadium on Baltimore. We are the cornerstone of community involvement.

foto 1: Gus DiMillo, Jennifer Lehman, David Wizenberg
foto 2: Michael Strautmanis, from the Obama White House

About the Author

Michael Birchenall is Editor and Publisher of Foodservice Monthly, a regional trade publication covering the foodservice industry of the Mid-Atlantic (DE, DC, MD, VA). Foodservice Monthly has been recognized as the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Allied Industry Member of the Year and by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington as the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year.

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