World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that sets up in disaster zones to feed first responders and those displaced and in need showed up in Sonoma County Fairgrounds this week. They did so as the Kincade Fire raged across the county threatening everyone from the mountains to the coast. Businesses, farms, and wineries, as well as residential properties, were all threatened. Today Friday, November 1st the fire is 70 percent contained.
I witnessed first hand over a few hours on Thursday how World Central Kitchen, a well-oiled feeding machine works and it is impressive. Volunteers were on site with 12 hours of the fire breaking out last Wednesday, October 23rd.
As firefighters battled the massive blaze volunteer cooks, many rock star chefs we’re heading to Sonoma County Fairgrounds to chop, cook, organize, prep and feed an army. Hot meals served from 11 am - 7 pm for those returning from the fire zone and for those about to head out. The meals were cooked in one central location and then take to a dozen or so sites all around the county and fire zone.
"We will be here until the last fire is out, the last firefighter fed and the need is here," said Chef & Director of procurement Jason Collis.
Firefighters were thrilled to fed, not only a hot meal but a meal prepped by some of the Bay Area’s best-known chefs. "We don’t know all the chefs but we know they sure can cook and we can’t wait for mealtime," said Marco, a firefighter from Ventura County at lunch following an 18-hour shift on the KINCADE fire line.
World Central Kitchen founded by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Chef Jose Andres has created the perfect model for feeding people in times of disaster: from hurricanes in the Bahamas or Puerto Rico to fires in Northern and Southern California WCK is there. They are organized and professional, motivated and inspiring and you cannot help but be impressed.
Enjoy my conversations with the Chefs and the volunteer leaders who make World Central Kitchen jump into action when disaster strikes. As I wrote this story new fires are emerging in other parts of California and WCK will be there to feed those responding and those in need.
How can you help?You can volunteer to serve meals, cook or clean. You can also donate and help cover World Central Kitchen costs here.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have some potatoes to peel!!