Chefs Behind Bars: Supporting Kids with Cocktails

image1Words and photos by Sara Axelrod, special to Edible DC Seven of DC’s top chefs gathered at Prequel, (downtown DC's restaurant incubator and event space), for Chefs Behind Bars on January 17th--an annual fundraising event benefiting the Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. The campaign's sole focus on ending childhood hunger by connecting kids to the healthy food they need, every day. From whiskey cocktails with salty rims and smoked onion garnishes to mezcal cocktails paired with pumpkin pop-tarts—each chef brought their best and most creative ideas to the table in support of No Kid Hungry.

The lineup included the following chefs, many of whom who have or have previously utilized the Prequel incubator space to kick start their own restaurants:

Matt Baker | Gravitas Jen Carroll | Requin John Critchley| Brine Hamilton Johnson | Honeysuckle Liam LaCivita | Bar Civitaimage3 James Martin| District Supper Yuki Nakandakari | Ocopa

Jen Carroll wowed the crowd with her take on a Dark and Stormy, where the well-known rum drink became an exotic tropical vacation with passion fruit tea mixed with orange blossom water. Liam La Civita from Bar Civita’s cocktail lineup was not for the faint of heart. While delicious, Citiva’s cocktail of rye, orange juice, ginger beer with a smoked paprika salt rim needed food as a chaser, and this meant a required after drink indulgence in the fried chicken and biscuits that were being passed around before moving on to the next tasting.

Overall, the event was a great success, selling out two days prior to the doors opening with silent auction items that had the crowd buzzing featuring items such as a weekend stay at Smyth - a Thompson Hotel in New York City, dinner for two at Chef Hamilton Johnson's Honeysuckle, the southern-inspired restaurant currently popping up at Prequel and a cooking lesson for two from Chef James Martin of District Supper.

Most important, beyond the delicious snacks, inspiring cocktails and engaging silent auction items, all the proceeds went to benefit a great cause.

One in five children in the United States struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is working tirelessly to end child hunger in America by breaking down barriers that keep kids from healthy food and connecting them to food where they live. This means spearheading innovative hunger solutions in local communities such as nutritious school breakfasts, summer meals, after school nutrition, cooking classes and grocery store trips with local schools to teach both kids and parents how to make healthier, cost-effective food choices. Events like DC's Chefs Behind Bars are an example of local outreach to raise money and shine a national spotlight on the growing crisis of child hunger.

Food insecurity affects kids in a multitude of ways and can lead to lifelong challenges. By supporting organizations like Share Our Strength, we can make a difference in this national epidemic. For more information on Share Our Strength and No Kids Hungry, go here.


Hawaii/Colorado native and DC transplant, Sara Axelrod is a frequenter of farmers markets, vegetable enthusiast and constantly lusts after the perfect French fry. When she is not cooking or exploring DC’s thriving restaurant scene, she works at the DC-based public affairs firm, The Glover Park Group, as a communications professional on the Energy and Sustainability team, with a focus on food policy and sustainable agriculture.