Tuesday, March 23, 2010

T-Shirt Design Contest

Flaunt your creativity and help us design the 2010 Ride for the Feast t-shirt! The winning design will be worn by over 200 RFTF participants and the designer will receive a fantastic prize, to be announced at a later date.

The colors of this year's t-shirts will be white and black but designs may only contain red, black and white. The Moveable Feast staff has the right to change the winning design to a two-color version. Designs are only for the front of the t-shirt so please only submit one design. You also have the option of including the 2010 Ride for the Feast logo but it is not necessary.

Submission deadline is 5PM on Wednesday, April 7. The judging committee will then narrow the field down to three finalists and allow RFTF participants to vote for the winner online. PDF and JPG are the only accepted files. Please send submissions to Amanda Fisher at afisher(at)mfeast.org

The judging committee reserves the right to scale the drawing, alter it, add wording, or change the font you submit. You may include a tiny set of your initials with the drawing. Designs become the property of Moveable Feast, but if used, you will always be acknowledged.

Good Luck!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fundraiser Recap - Team BikeCurious "Moveable Feets"

Team BikeCurious captain, Clyde Duplichan, recaps their Saturday, March 15 "Moveable Feets" fundraiser. Make sure to check out the video as well.

Congrats to Team BikeCurious for a fun and successful event!

On Saturday night, March 15, 150 people gathered at the Metro Gallery to boogie, shimmies, shake-some even did jumping jacks-at Moveable Feets - a dance party and contest to support Moveable Feast's annual 140 mile biking extravaganza, Ride for the Feast. This dance event was a first-time fundraiser for Team BikeCurious. A sense of pure unfettered good cheer ruled the night! Everyone who attended had a contestant number pinned to their backs as "celebrity" judges roamed the crowd-and sometimes danced with it as well-taking notes on which attendees best fit the following catagories:
  • So Cute We Puked Dancing Couple
  • Awesomest Dancer
  • Most Inventive Dance Move (or Who Knew a Body Could Move Like That)
  • Best Rhythmic Dancer
  • Most Affected "Dancer" (Too Cool for School)
  • Dance Floor Slut (referring to quantity not quality of said dancing)
  • Biggest Bribe (or You're So Good At This, You Could Have Been a Lobbyist)
  • Dancer that Best Imitated an Aerobics Dancer
Speaking of bribes, all attendees were directed to the Bribery Currency Exchange Table where they could trade in their cold hard cash for BikeCurious Bribery Dollards with which to bribe the judges. Our celebrity pane included Baltimore sculptor, Sondheim prize winner and cultural saboteur Laure Drogoul, Baltimore City Paper Arts Editor Bret McCabe, and Charm City Roller Girl bruiser Flo Shizzle. Voter fraud and election rigging was strongly encouraged and deftly accomplished. Bribery Bucks were flying everywhere!

There was a wide variety of music to ensure that a broad swath of attendees would be seduced into dance. And it worked. At the end of the night, the dance floor was teeming with a divers set of folks who you might not ever see in one place again-from Dundalkians to Station Northers-sweating and laughing together. Not the mention one hula hoop and a lot of freestyle dance moves.

The night started with DJ John Eaton setting the tone for the evening. He also kept the dance floor heated and steamy during the set changes between bands. At 9pm Humble Tripe took the stage. We were incredibly lucky that they were in town for one night and wanted to donate their time. Humble Tripe played a nice set of combination folk-rock-americana-classical music to warm the crowd up. And for those with queer/punk rock history, folks go an unexpected small venu performance from self taught pop-punk drummer extraordinaire of Team Dresch and The Butchies fame Melissa York.

Local all-girl queer art rock power trio The Degenerettes played at 10pm and amped the energy level with their bass-driven jangly fuzzy garage rock and soul. Seriously, there was some serious jammin' and dancin' in the house. Kristen Anchor, the group's drummer, is riding the 140 miles for her first time this year and was one of the powers behind this event. Lead singer and songwriter Rahne Alexander served as emcee for the entire night.

Finally, Baltimore's premeire Motown and Soul band, The Motorettes, specializing in Motown and Stax Records hits from the 50's, 60's and 70's. When is the last time you saw a 6 piece female fronted band complete with horn and keyboard with coordinating black tuxedo suits a la Blues Brothers? Anyone who wasn't already on the dance floor made a quick migration there...and stayed. They made even the most jaded in the crowd put any reserve of dignity aside.

The three bands, the DJ, and the venue all donated their time for this event and all can't wait to do it again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Meet the Staff - Executive Chef, Damon Hersh

It was suggested that we use the blog to introduce you to some of the Moveable Feast staff you will encounter the weekend of the ride. We kick off the "Meet the Staff" series with our Executive Chef, Damon Hersh. You may not see a lot of Damon the weekend of the ride, but you sure will taste his delicious food.

Moveable Feast's Executive Chef has every right to consider himself a local celebrity chef. He graduated with honors at L'Academie Cuisine, one of the nation's top ten culinary schools. He interned and was quickly promoted to sous chef at Occidental Grill, the historic restaurant just steps from the White House. And he has overseen the kitchens of some of Baltimore's finest restaurants including Louisiana, Mezze and Kali's Court. You hear stories of celebrity chefs and their overblown egos but you do not get any sense of that with Chef Damon. Rather, you get a chef who surprises and warms the staff with a tasty stone soup on a cold afternoon. You get a chef who blushes when a client stops by the office to tell him how much she enjoys his food and has started to gain weight.

Moveable Feast is full of dedicated and hard working staff, but nobody can deny Chef Damon is the busiest. This past summer after the birth of his first child, Isabelle Hiroko Saffron Hersh, Chef Damon decided to leave the late nights of the restaurant world and search for something that would allow for him to play the role of an active father. All it took was an hour of chatting with Executive Director Tom Bonderenko and a week volunteering in the kitchen and grocery room to receive the job offer he was looking for. And, this past October, Chef Damon officially became in charge of the Moveable Feast kitchen, open 365 days, 7 days a week.

I asked Chef Damon what has been his biggest challenge so far working at Moveable Feast. He quickly responded, "sheer volume." He went on to explain that with his experience in fine dining, he would typically prepare meals for roughly 120 diners each night and with a staff of 7. At Moveable Feast, he is preparing on average 5,000 meals per week (sometimes 1,000 in one day) with only 3 full time and 1 part time staff members. Chef Damon goes on to credit the many volunteers who have worked in our kitchen but is honest about the struggles with having 40 volunteers one day versus zero the next. He reminds me (and I think to remind those reading this) that our kitchen is open 7 days a week.

In changing the subject to the benefits of his job, we talk about growing up in households where dinner each night was spent together as a family. Chef Damon seems happy to be at that place in his life where he can begin to carry on this tradition, one we agree is very important. I expect Damon to answer bouillabaisse or lobster sous vide, when I ask him what he typically cooks for dinner. He casually reveals, "chicken with a mushroom cream sauce, green beans, and brown rice." He doesn't bite my bait to chat more in depth about food and cooking styles but rather returns to discussing the newly discovered perks of his job. Chef Damon says his greatest reward is at the end of each day, when he goes home and holds his daughter in his arms, he knows he did the best job he could that day and feels proud of what he accomplished.

I dream of being a celebrity chef in my next lifetime and obsess over the Food Network and Top Chef. Chef Damon is participating in a local chef competition this spring and I excitedly ask if he has ever considered auditioning for a television show. Of course and Iron Chef would be his choice. I ask him who he would go up against. He answers "Bobby Flay. [I would] wreck his little red wagon." We go on to chat for a few more minutes about the different cooking styles of Morimoto and Mario Batali until I realize I need not waste Chef Damon's time and get back to the task at hand.

I bring up Ride for the Feast. Damon inserts his humor and says, " I plan to ride my Big Wheel. Hills will be tough but I'll make it." Like me, this will be Damon's first Ride for the Feast. He says his game plan is to rely on the expertise of those who have gone before him, like Chef Aaron Purdie who has been with Moveable Feast for the past few years. He admits not having the luxury of his own kitchen will be difficult but I don't sense any bit of anxiety over prepping, cooking, transporting and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner for over 300 riders, crew, staff and guests this May. I ask him if he rides. No. But, he goes on to say that if he had come across Ride for the Feast before he started working here, he would have signed up for the challenge. Chef Damon believes that whether you ride 140 miles, run a marathon, or wrestle an alligator, everyone in their lifetime should experience an event where you challenge yourself physically, emotionally and all for a good cause.

More fun facts about Chef Damon:

  • He entered the Army out of high school and was a Korean linguist.

  • He started his culinary career at a pizza shop.

  • He hates okra because of the texture.

  • His favorite cooking tool is fire. Though, he gets a kick out of using the industrial sized immersion blender in the Moveable Feast kitchen.

  • He sings in the award-winning group, Pyrates Royale. But, do NOT ask him to sing. He will tell you to buy one of their CDs or check out a performance. (Hmmm....I'm now thinking pirate theme for the RFTF Saturday night dinner)

  • He is the Founder and President of Fraternite Gastronomique, whose goal is to find like-minded culinary professionals who are willing to give for their art to help create in order to create a vibrant and growing culinary and social community in Baltimore.