Paying It Forward with Food

Published in Gourmet Live 09.28.11
A celebrity chef, a priest, an educator, and dozens of bakers… It might sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but these people are creating a recipe for a better world

In this issue of Gourmet Live, we’re profiling people whose acts of kindness are anything but random. Take, for example, Mario Batali, who started his own foundation aimed at helping kids nationwide because he thought it would be more effective than “merely dropping a couple coins in every valid box,” as he told Rachel Wharton for her article this week.

Or look at Neal Bermas, a hospitality management consultant and academic who was so haunted by the poverty of children he encountered when he was visiting Vietnam that he resolved to do something about it. Read our latest installment of “10 Questions for…” to meet Bermas and learn about his organization, Streets International, which provides orphaned, poor, and other disadvantaged young Vietnamese with job training and placement in the hospitality industry.

Regina Schrambling profiles another nonprofit that’s helping at-risk young people: Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, which aims to end street violence by giving gang members and other endangered youths jobs and a fresh start. (Homeboy’s enterprises include a café, a diner, and a bakery.)

Sometimes a single food—especially something as basic yet symbolic as bread—can be the key to helping individuals and whole communities, as Molly O’Neill found when she talked to the founders and attendees of the annual Kneading Conference in Skowhegan, Maine.

This week, you’ll also find recommendations for where to eat and drink like an insider in New York City (home of the best thin-crust pizza this side of Naples, it turns out), in our latest installment of Road Trip, our monthly partnership with BlogHer. And if you live in New York or will be in town on October 4, we invite you to attend our sister site’s charity event, Epicurious’ Wine.Dine.Donate at the Brooklyn Winery, in support of Food Bank For New York City. (Tickets are on sale online now.)

What food-related charity do you admire? How do you pay it forward? Tell us via Twitter or Facebook, email us (, or post a comment on our blog. And don’t forget to visit us on the Web at

Here’s to good food and good deeds!

The Editors of Gourmet Live

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