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Supporting IWFF Helps Cohn’s Kitchen Service DC Hospitality

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Todd Gray works with Reagan Center Culinary and Cohn’s Kitchen

Tonight I went to the Sommelier Showdown at the Washington, DC International Food & Wine Festival (IWFF) that is taking place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (ITC) through February 9. Advertised was a tasting of DC chefs and that pretty much defines the ubiquitious Tood Gray of Equinox and Xavier Deshayes of the Reagan Center who delivered the tasty accompaniments to the wine and spirits around the Center’s pavilion.

While the somms (that’s the cool way to say sommeliers) were doing the blind tasting routine, I found the real action going on in the kitchen … and it wasn’t just Gray and Deshayes making it all happen. A dedicated culinary team from the Center kept the food rolling out the kitchen with full throttle assistance from the latest class of Cohn’s Kitchen. You’ve read about the training effort of Paul J. Cohn and Elizabeth B. Scott in Foodservice Monthly before. Cohn’s Kitchen is a DC based 501c non-profit whose mission is to provide restaurant and culinary job training and workforce development to under-served and underprivileged DC young adults.

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Leah Cheston, Ris … 2013 Sommelier Showdown Winner!

Founded by restaurateur Cohn and entrepreneur Scott, Cohn’s
Kitchen serves to educate, empower and develop young adults in the District of
Columbia as the next generation of culinary and restaurant professionals,
leaders and entrepreneurs.

Assisting in the kitchen tonight (see foto above) were back row: Rashad Kemp, ITC Executive Sous Chef Craig McMullen and in the front row:
Michael Kemp, Equinox chef/partner Todd Gray, Doneisha Jackson, Kevin Kemp, Jerrod Bradford, Tytricia Hinson.

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Elizabeth Scott and Cohn’s Board Member Mike LaRosa

This year’s IWFF will donate a portion of proceeds from
ticket sales and a silent auction to help Cohn’s Kitchen create these needed
opportunities within the community.You can go to the live online auction by clicking here.

If you have an aptitude for puzzles and a love of wine, you
can configure a ticket packages or sign up for a la carte events while finding
more information, click onto www.wineandfooddc.com … it is worth the effort to help Cohn’s Kitchen.

Just so you know, we do have a winner … RIS sommelier Leah Cheston beat out the other six wine experts including last year’s winner Brent Kroll from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group. Other somms in the competition included Will Murck, BLT Steak; Kate Alexander, Del Frisco’s; Travis Gray, Equinox; Andrew Howells, The Pig and John Coco, The Kennedy Center.

 

 

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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