This October, I hosted an event to help a first-of-its-kind local non-profit, Louis’ Groceries. Louis’ Groceries is striving to eradicate food deserts, which are communities where residents don’t have access to affordable healthy food. Its mission is to make sure that the residents of Grand Crossing, Ill., a lower-income and hardworking area, are getting enough of the foods that are both good tasting and good for them. Louis’ Groceries also aims to develop a business model that will enable neighborhood corner stores to successfully retail fresh, healthy foods in food deserts throughout Illinois, or even the country.
Since opening in 2012, Louis’ Groceries has been selling fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products at low prices. It has also been teaching local residents how to prepare wholesome, easy and affordable meals, to help them develop essential cooking skills that work for busy schedules. By making healthy foods more accessible, the hope is that low-income residents will be able to eat more food that is nutrient dense, and less fattening, thus lowering obesity and diabetes rates.
To support the importance of healthy food, Louis’ Groceries invited six top Chefs from around Chicago to prepare locally sourced and appetizing food samples for the recent fundraiser at my home. Among the chefs were:
- Richie Farina, Sous Chef at Moto Restaurant, and a “Top Chef” contestant during the show’s ninth season.
- Matt Eversman, Chef/Partner at OON, who opened his own restaurant at the age of 28 and has since developed a reputation as one of the city’s best.
- Tom Van Lente and Kevin Cuddihee, Head Chefs at TWO Restaurant and Bar, who have a unique culinary style inspired by their commitment to local ingredients, which they showcase in their work.
- Mark Sparacino, Chef from Prosecco, who is well-known and experienced, and brought his Italian recipes to the table at the fundraiser.
- Last but not least, Courtney Lance, Louis’ Groceries own Chef, prepared healthy and delicious sandwiches that her customers can learn how to make in the store.
With the help of our incredible chef participants, we were able to raise $100,000.00 for Louis’ Groceries. Thank you to everyone who attended, and contributed to the effort!.