Kansas City is a unique little city. Buzzfeed and Huffington Post, to name just a couple websites, keep listing our little hamlet as the top place to live, eat and play.
But one of the most under-referenced aspects of our city that makes us so great is our desire to give. Being born and raised in this city I have always known that when you move into the professional market you find a charity to support. I feel that this mindset is unique among most cities, and because of this our charity events are some of the most inspiring, fun and exciting events this city has to offer.
No Kid Hungry is an amazing charity aimed at stamping out hunger for children during off-school hours and summertime when they might not have access to a meal. Last year the Kansas City chapter was $458 dollars short of being the No. 1 chapter in the country; the goal was $25,000. Well No. 2 will just not do. This year Gina Reardon put together an all-star team to show the rest of the country how it is done, with a celebrity bake sale on Saturday and a Country Bloody Mary Smack Down on Sunday.
The brunch had everything; bands, food, a bloody Mary bar a mile long courtesy of Lon Lanes Inspired Occasions, and a never-ending supply of mimosas and rosé. This year the KC No Kid Hungry chapter raised a phenomenal $90,000 for needy children in the Kansas City area.
Spectacle was this year’s culinary event for the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired. This group also organizes the famous Trolley Run among other event throughout the year.
This year Nicola Heskett brought the inspiration for an Argentinian Grill to KC and the Boys Grow Farm. Some of the top chefs in the city, along with some of the best purveyors, donated their time and massive quantities of meat, fish, fruits and vegetables.
Spring lambs from Green Dirt Farms, Campo Lindo Chickens, Sausages from Broadway Butcher shop, vegetables from Crum’s Family Heirlooms, rum-cured salmon from Café Sebastienne, stone fruit focaccia from Story, black cod from the American, and much more.
Twelve chefs spent 12 hours over open coals manipulating 300 plus pounds of meat and vegetation around a custom-built cage, an iron cross, and a custom built smoke house. At one time there were seven fires crackling away waiting for guests to arrive. With a full buffet, creative cocktails from the best bartenders in the city, and music in full swing the partygoers danced, ate and drank the night away.
There is a consistent theme at these events, and that is the chefs. When I walk through the door of any charity event showcasing the culinary side, I see many of the same faces, KC’s top culinary talent happily preparing dishes for eager guests. They never repeat, always trying a new and exciting dish to fit the event and the charity. This core of seasoned and awarded chefs are the backbone of so many great charities and are always eager to give their time and help to make the next event even better than the last.
That is why I am so proud of our city. We give, we create, and we are always looking for something new and fun to bring awareness to a great cause. So cheers Kansas City, you are at the top of the list for many reasons, but your charitable spirit is what sets you apart from all the rest!
Stewart Lane is research & development chef at Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions. He is a native of Kansas City. He holds a degree from Kansas State University in Hotel and Restaurant Management.