WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 16: Judges, hosts, and competing chefs onstage at DC Central Kitchen’s Capital Food Fight on November 16, 2017 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for DC Central Kitchen’s Capital Food Fight )

The annual Capital Food Fight is a culinary fundraiser for the DC Central Kitchen, a local D.C. organization that aims to reduce hunger through social enterprise and teaches culinary job training to at-risk individuals.  This year’s event was co-hosted by Chef José Andrés of ThinkFoodGroup and Chef Spike Mendelsohn.

This year’s Capital Food Fight brought together over 1,200 guests, 80 tasting restaurants, as well as cocktail mixologists and live on-stage entertainment at the Ronald Reagan Building. Battling chefs were asked to create dishes using secret ingredients ranging from Smithfield PRIME Fresh Pork Boneless Loin presented by Smithfield Foods, to broccolini presented by Mann’s and Keany Produce, to salty hog oysters presented by Whole Foods.

The event raised over $638,000 for DC Central Kitchen, which earns 60 percent of its $13 million annual budget through social enterprise ventures that employ at-risk adults to serve healthy food in DC.

One of the unique dishes of the night was Thip Khao’s Keng Naw Mai, which is a bamboo shoot stew.  The flavors were rich and earthy.

Always the crowd pleaser, Le Diplomate served Foie Gras Macarons.  They were slightly sweet, slightly salty, and absolutely delicious!

1789 Restaurant served an excellent Tuna Tartare.  Its subtle flavors of the sea was our favorite dish of the evening,

On the adult beverage side of the food fight, 2017 was undoubtedly the best year ever. Attendees that purchased a pass to the Speakeasy section of the fight were treated to a full bar pouring top shelf liquors. All well and good, but if you were up for something a little out of the ordinary, mixologists from Service Bar were preparing made to order cocktails with the gins and whiskeys from D.C.’s own distillery, Founding Spirits. For the chocolate lovers in attendance, the guys behind the chocolate lab in Leesburg Virginia’s The Conche mixed up some really delicious chocolate-infused cocktails. Imagine drinking a whiskey-flavored chocolate bar, yum! We also had the pleasure of sampling our first ever cannabis flavored liquors from Dr. Stoners Herb Flavored Spirits, also located in Leesburg. No, they won’t get you higher than the Washington monument, but they tasted amazing and will definitely get you a little loopy at 84 proof.

Great beverages weren’t limited only to those who had access to the Food Fight’s speakeasy. All throughout the event were tables offering handcrafted cocktails, microbrews, and samples from D.C.’s newest distillers. Of particular note were the amazing rums being made by Todd Thrasher, the genius barman behind the drinks of PX and Restaurant Eve. Todd’s rums will be available to the public this spring when he opens up Potomac Distilling Co. and Tiki Bar in the brand new Wharf neighborhood. I’m usually a whiskey and tequila guy, but Todd’s rums have me second guessing those limitations.

Attending Capital Food Fight is a great way to fight hunger while sampling food from some of DC’s most impressive restaurants, and rubbing elbows with their talented chefs.  We look forward to it every year as DC premier foodie event.  Thank you, Erica!