Fork It Over and Hands Across the Valley Team up for Napa Food Bank and Meals on Wheels
Each year Fork It Over, hosted by Oxbow Public Market, and Hands Across the Valley conduct events that raise significant funds to support Napa County’s safety-net food programs. With these two benefit events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Napa Valley Food Bank and Meals on Wheels stand to lose approximately $250,000 in funding while the number of families supported by these programs has nearly tripled due to the pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn. The most vulnerable families are experiencing increased food insecurity, and many in the community that have never needed to access these programs now rely on them to keep their families fed.
Working together, Fork It Over and Hands Across the Valley have come up with a unique and entertaining event to help close this financial gap. On Sunday, August 23, the inaugural (and virtual!) Napa Valley Champions Cook-Off will take place, pitting two Napa Valley chefs who have won national televised cooking contests against each other in a friendly challenge to determine the ultimate champ!
In one corner of the kitchen will be Chef/Owner Elizabeth Binder of Hand-Crafted Catering, who helped her team “Beat Bobby Flay” on the popular cooking competition’s “Perched for Victory” show, Season 23, Episode 7, which aired on January 26, 2020.
The other talented chef vying for the title is Yountville’s 2020 Business Leader of the Year, Chef/Owner Chris Kollar of Kollar Chocolates in Yountville. Chef Kollar was named a much sought-after 2020 “Chopped Champion”, winning the “Sweet & Salty Success” challenge in Season 42, Episode 1, which aired on January 7 of this year.
The cook-off will be held in the spacious teaching kitchens at The Culinary Institute of America at Copia (ideal for social distancing), on Sunday, August 23 beginning at 2pm. This live stream, virtual competition will be hosted by KCBS’ Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem, and the competition will be judged by three renowned chefs, including Chef Ken Frank of Michelin Star Rated La Toque, Chef/owner Anita Cartagena of the popular Protéa in Yountville, and Chef/owner Tanya Holland of heralded Brown Sugar Kitchen.
The event will be streamed live and can be accessed via Facebook Live at facebook.com/OxbowPublicMarket. The event is free to view with opportunities to support The Napa Valley Food Bank and Meals on Wheels throughout the approximately hour-long program. To donate during the event, please visit canv.org and click the green donate button. Donations received during the event will be eligible to win $500 in OxBucks, redeemable at any Oxbow Public Market merchant.
“Participating in Fork It Over is a way of supporting local people who need help at one time or another in their lives,” stated Steve Carlin, Founder and Managing Partner of Oxbow Public Market. “This year is different in that there are more of us confronting food insecurity challenges. At Oxbow, we are doing everything we can to be part of the solution, and we’re proud to partner with Hands Across the Valley on this creative new fundraising effort”
“We were very disappointed when we had to cancel our annual benefit event due to the pandemic,” stated Hands across the Valley founder and Board President George Altamura. “This is a great way to engage some of our talented culinary stars, have some fun and raise money for these very important programs. May the best chef win…although they’re both winners for pitching in!”
The inaugural Napa Valley Champion Chef Cook-Off is sponsored in part by Adams Law Group, Archer Hotel Napa, Chevron, 5T Wealth, The Gasser Foundation, Oxbow Public Market, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, The CIA at Copia, The Doctors Co. and Umpqua Bank, Black Stallion.