Culinary Events > No Kid Hungry Dinners

Raleigh No Kid Hungry Dinner

September 20, 2015

Individual Ticket: $200
6:00pm - 9:30pm

Poole's Downton Diner

426 South McDowell Street
Raleigh, North Carolina

Save the Date

Join Us to Help End Childhood Hunger in America

Raleigh No Kid Hungry Dinner 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Poole's Downtown Diner
426 South McDowell Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

6:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception
7:00 p.m. - Multi-Course Seated Dinner

Host Chef
Ashley Christensen, Poole’s, Beasley’s Chicken & Honey, Chuck’s, Fox Liquor Bar, Joule Coffee, Raleigh, NC

2014 James Beard Award Winner Best Chef: Southeast

2015 Participating Guest Chefs
Bryce Shuman, Betony, New York City, NY

Aaron Silverman, Rose's Luxury, Washington, D.C.

Aaron Clemins, City House, Nashville, TN

Adam Evans, The Optimist, Atlanta, GA


Sponsorship opportunities and tickets will be available for purchase soon.  Please contact Courtney Smith at or 202-649-4357 with any questions. 

No child in should grow up hungry in America, but 1 in 5 kids will face hunger this year.  Using proven, practical solutions, No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger today by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget.  When we all work together, we can make sure kids get the healthy food they need.  No Kid Hungry is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength.  Join us at

Chef Ashley Christensen

Since making Raleigh her home, Ashley Christensen has sought to foster community through food, philanthropy and the stimulation of the city’s downtown neighborhood.

Ashley began cooking while in college, throwing dinner parties for her friends and family. These intimate gatherings helped her recognize her passion for cooking and sharing food, and ultimately led to her first professional cooking job at the age of 21. Upon taking the position, she knew she had found her life’s work.

After working in some of the Triangle’s top kitchens, Ashley opened Poole’s Diner in 2007, which takes its name and décor from the building’s original tenant—one of downtown Raleigh’s first restaurants. The shotgun space offers an evolving chalkboard menu of comfort-food classics, re-imagined through a philosophy of locally grown, seasonal ingredients and French-influenced technique.

In 2011, Ashley opened three new ventures, all housed in a corner building once occupied by a Piggly Wiggly. Beasley’s Chicken + Honey is an ode to fried chicken and classic Southern sides; Chuck’s offers burgers and frites with signature updates; and Fox Liquor Bar, housed in the building’s basement, features a menu of more than 50 craft cocktails, as well as beer, wine and bar snacks.

Joule Coffee, which opened in the summer of 2013, is Ashley’s latest venture. The spacious café features an extensive coffee menu that highlights the beans of Durham-based Counter Culture in carefully prepared espresso drinks and pour-overs. Joule also offers a casual all-day food menu and a full-service bar.

In 2014, Ashley’s team will introduce three new projects: Death & Taxes, a restaurant celebrating wood-fire cooking with Southern ingredients; Bridge Club, a private event space and cooking classroom; and Aux, a commissary kitchen that will service all seven restaurant properties.

When she’s not in the kitchen, Ashley focuses her time on a number of local and regional charities. She is a board member of the Frankie Lemmon foundation and a co-chair of its annual fundraising event, Triangle Wine Experience. She also serves on the board of Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. She is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and founded the biannual event Stir the Pot, in which she hosts visiting chefs in Raleigh to raise funds for the SFA’s documentary initiatives.

Ashley’s work has gained national attention from such publications as Bon Appétit, Gourmet, The New York Times, Southern Living and Garden & Gun. She has appeared on Food Network’s popular series Iron Chef America and MSNBC’s Your Business.

In 2014, Ashley was awarded the James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast.”

Visit Ashley behind the stoves at Poole’s or follow her on Twitter at @poolesdiner.


Vish Bhatt, City Grocery, Snackbar, Big Bad Breakfast, Main Event Catering, and Lamar Lounge, Oxford, MS

Vishwesh Bhatt a native of Gujarat, India and Oxford, MS has been a part of the City Grocery Restaurant Group for sixteen years. His inspiration and early
knowledge of cooking began in his mother’s kitchen. He continued his culinary journey as a part time cook in various restaurants while in college. After deciding
to pursue cooking as a career Vishwesh attended Johnson and Wales in North Miami. After graduating from Johnson & Wales, Vishwesh did brief cooking stints
in Miami, Denver, Boulder and Jackson, before deciding to return to Oxford in 2001. He began training under James Beard Award Winning Chef, John
Currence, serving as the Group’s Catering chef, then Sous Chef before being promoted to Chef de Cuisine of City Grocery in 2007. In April of 2009, John asked Vishwesh to open and serve as Chef at Snackbar. Here, Vishwesh has been able to showcase his unique cooking style which is influenced by his childhood in India, his training in French cooking, and his love of the South.

Snackbar has been recognized by local and national media as one of the finest restaurants in the South. The highlight of Vishwesh’s four years as Chef at
Snackbar, has been the recognition by the James Beard Foundation, as a nominee for Best Chef South 2013.

Vishwesh has most recently been named Corporate Chef of City Grocery Restaurant Group to oversee kitchens at City Grocery, Snackbar, Big Bad Breakfast, Main Event Catering, and Lamar Lounge. He resides in Oxford with is wife, Teresa and his two dogs, Pogo & Tula.

Tim Byres, SMOKE, Chicken Scratch, The Foundry, Bar Belmont, Outpost American Pavilion, Dallas, TX

Tim Byres, named the Southwest 2012 Food & Wine Magazine’s “People’s Best New Chef,” is the co-owner and chef of Dallas’ SMOKE, Chicken Scratch, The Foundry, Bar Belmont and Outpost American Tavern. Originally from California but a longtime Texan, Byres is best known for his “live fire cookery”, worldly and approachable flavors, and fun, family-style service.  He spent his most of formative years in fine-dining, including time spent at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, under chef Stephan Pyles at his eponymous restaurant, and prior to moving to Texas, he was the executive chef at the US Embassy in Brussels. Byres has been influenced by flavors and techniques as widely differing as those he found in the local foods of Haiti, the Mississippi Delta, the Pacific Northwest, and the Tex-Mex kitchens knocking at his back door.  Now a Texan at heart, Byres draws mostly on the regional traditions of Mexico, Louisiana and the American South to craft his very personal take on forward-thinking American cuisine.

Widely regarded as an expert in cooking with wood and open flame, Byres has been invited to represent his craft by some of the country’s most respected food personalities, events, and publications, including Food & Wine Magazine, ABC’s “The Chew”, Josh Ozersky’s “Meatopia” (a celebration of the best cuts of beef and finest chefs working with live fire in London, New York City and San Antonio), Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” on the Travel Channel, and the folks at the Cooking Channel’s “Man Fire Food” show. He has cooked at the iconic James Beard House, the inaugural 2012 Austin Food & Wine Festival (where he returned in 2013), the 2013 Texas Book Festival, and both the Foodways Texas and the Southern Foodways Alliance annual symposiums. 

In 2009, Byres followed his dream of owning an upscale smokehouse-meets-white-tablecloth restaurant by launching SMOKE.  Located in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, SMOKE is a back-to-basics restaurant with a giant wood-burning stove at its heart, which churns out most of the menu.  Complementing the menu is a bar serving wood-infused spirits and a clever beer and wine list. Lauded as “one of the most interesting and important restaurants in the city" by The Dallas Morning News and named as “One of the Top Plates in America” by Food & Wine Magazine, SMOKE is laying ground for a new approach to cooking and dining. A second location of SMOKE is set to open late fall of 2014.

Byres’ backyard fried chicken joint, Chicken Scratch, opened in 2012 in Dallas. The compound on which it sits is a live music venue meets urban bar.  Chicken Scratch is a “slow-fast-food” chicken joint focused on biscuit sandwiches and cast iron-prepared, southern-style fried chicken.  The bar area is referred to as The Foundry.  Both Chicken Scratch and The Foundry make up a few acre compound in the gentrifying Oak Cliff neighborhood.  When Byres is not running SMOKE, Chicken Scratch, or The Foundry menu programs, he makes time for his bar, Bar Belmont.  Bar Belmont is housed in The Belmont Hotel, a 1940s era hotel which has been transformed into a retro-chic Dallas institution.  As if all this was not enough, in early November 2013, Byres and his partners took over the helm of yet another Oak Cliff restaurant, Outpost American Tavern.  The partners -- and longtime friends -- Byres, Christopher Jeffers, and Christopher Zielke, have turned the idea of what a neighborhood tavern looked like on its side – and then some.  The new place, “Outpost” is about bar food – really good bar food.  It is also about date night.  It is that everyman restaurant on your street corner which meets the needs of the late night set with live music and chicken wings (albeit really good chicken wings) and ladies night by offering salads and lite bites on the menu.

In the spring of 2013, Byres released his first book, “Smoke: New Firewood Cooking.” Featuring photography by Jody Horton and a foreword by Josh Ozersky, the cookbook reveals insightful information about flavors that are utilitarian as well as unique.  For the adventurous, there are how-to sections on building your own firepit, smokehouse, and upright roaster. While the book does feature dishes from Byres' SMOKE (including, yes, their Double-Barrel Bloody Mary), the majority of the book focuses on four feasts: Gulf Coast Seafood Boil, Tejano Barbacoa, Pig Roast, and a Campfire Breakfast. “Smoke: New Firewood Cooking” was nominated for a James Beard Award in the spring of 2014.

This is just the beginning for the thirty-something Tim Byres.  He will, however, likely always remain unplugged.

Tommy Habetz, Bunk, Bunk Bar, Portland, OR

With some 15 years of high-end restaurant experience under his belt working along side several of the world’s most respected chefs, Tommy Habetz has cemented his place in Portland with Bunk Sandwiches ( – a no-nonsense gourmet sandwich shop he opened in November 2008 with friend Nick Wood that centers on their sincere and honest approach to simple yet mouthwatering comfort food. Coveted by locals and spotlighted by national and local media alike, they now operate two locations as well as a catering business and spinoff called Bunk Bar. After spending time in Portland in 1994 volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Tommy was instantly drawn to the up-and-coming food scene that celebrated local wine and produce as well as the buzzing music
community – he knew that he’d be back.

Food is connected to some of the most important and fulfilling moments in Tommy’s life. Growing up in Fairfield, Conn., his future career was influenced by his grandma who was raised on a farm during the Great Depression and his Italian immigrant aunt who cooked authentic and abundant meals regularly. He worked at local delis, bakeries and coffee shops before attending The Natural Gourmet Cookery School in New York City and subsequently securing two externships that any budding chef would dream of, both of which led to full-time jobs: Po with Mario Batali where he pursued his passion for Italian cuisine and fell in love with Mario’s infectious enthusiasm, and Mesa Grill with Bobby Flay where he initially worked in pastry but moved over to the fast-paced “line” that captivated him from day one. His relationship with Mario continued when he helped open Lupa in 1999 to rave reviews. It was then he had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Rome and cook with Paola di Mauro, the grandmother of Roman cooking.

In 2000, he traveled south to Boca Raton, Fla., and opened Lucca for Drew Nieporent’s Myriad Restaurant Group. He made the move back to Portland in 2002 and spent the next six years working in various restaurants. First up was Lucere and Genoa in 2002, and then Tommy served as Executive Chef at Ripe Family Supper in 2003. At Gotham Building Tavern from 2005 to 2006, he initially served as co-chef with Naomi Pomeroy and then became a partner and the Executive Chef. These experiences taught him more than he could have imagined – from the ins and outs of a French kitchen to incorporating fresh produce delivered to the back door by the farmers themselves. In 2009, Tommy was honored to be chosen by one of his mentors, Mario Batali, to be featured in the book "Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs.” He and his wife, Brooke, have one son, Hugo. As for Tommy’s favorite Bunk Sandwich? Why, it’s a tie between the Meatball Parmigiano Hero or Bacon, Egg & Cheese on a poppy seed hard roll.

Eder Montero, Txikito, El Quinto Pino, La Vara, New York City, NY

Eder Montero is half the husband and wife chef team behind Txikito, New York’s only Basque restaurant, El Quinto Pino, its “most authentic tapas bar,” and, most recently, La Vara, a Spanish restaurant celebrating the legacy of Jewish and Moorish traditions on the cuisines of Spain.

Despite his formal training in San Sebastian and being born and raised in Bilbao, Eder spent his early cooking years with Mediterranean flavors in Catalunya under Carles Abellan, Sergi Arola, and Xavi Sagrista. He came to New York as the Sous Chef of Meigas where he and his wife, Alex Raij, met and cooked together. Eder went on to a Sous Chef position at Nobu for 3 years while he and Alex began planning a collection of Spanish restaurants reflecting their love of the tapas tradition and lesser known regional Spanish dishes.

That broad tapas vision now lives at El Quinto Pino, a multi-regional Tapas Bar in West Chelsea, offering a culinary road trip throughout Spain with wines to match. Txikito, proposes you “unpack and stay for a while in El Pais Vasco,” by casting a wide net over a single cuisine and La Vara, the youngest of their restaurant family, is a bustling Brooklyn restaurant with aromas of saffron, cumin, and orange blossom.

All three restaurants share the uncanny ability to recast a traditional cuisine in a seasonal, original, and deeply personal light.


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