Found Kitchen hosts charity dinner for Chicago Food Depository


Sean Su/The Daily Northwestern

Kate Maehr, the CEO of Greater Chicago Food Depository, and chef Nicole Pederson speak to attendees Monday at Found Kitchen and Social House’s “Most Needed” Dinner. The benefit, a joint effort between the restaurant and the nonprofit, featured a four-course meal.

Tori Latham, Reporter

Diners feasted on a four-course meal Monday at Found Kitchen and Social House’s “Most Needed” Dinner, an event held to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

The benefit, proceeds of which were donated to the Food Depository, featured food “made from the ingredients that are most often donated to food banks,” according to a news release. Tickets were sold for $85 and dishes included potato and green garlic soup, braised short ribs and a peanut butter oat cake with gelato for dessert.

“I thought it would be fun to take those ingredients and then elevate them,” Found chef Nicole Pederson, said to the crowd of about 70 people.

Kara Sherman, the private gatherings director at Found, said the restaurant and the food bank both independently contacted each other to co-host an event.

“It was kind of meeting in the middle at the same time,” Sherman said. “It was kismet.”

Sherman said she hoped the guests had a unique experience and felt more “invigorated” to volunteer with the Food Depository.

“We want them to really feel inspired, to become more active in the organization through our partnership and through what we offer them tonight,” she said.

Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Food Depository, said the event was held partially to express gratitude to people who donate their time to the organization.

“We have a lot of people who are going to be here tonight who have been passionate about the Food Depository that we have never had the chance to meet in person,” she said. “It’s really a chance to thank the supporters and staff for what they do.”

Another goal for the dinner, Maehr said, was to raise awareness for the Food Depository.

“I think sometimes — even a community as conscious and aware as Evanston — it’s really easy to forget how many people are struggling and what that struggle looks like,” Maehr said. “It is important to be a response to that struggle.”

Attendees said they were as excited about the philanthropic aspect of the night as they were about the food. Judy and Bruce Bendoff, who dined at the event, said they have been longtime supporters of the Food Depository.

“They do really great things for the community, and we try to support them in all that they do,” Judy Bendoff said.

Pederson said when she opened the restaurant with owner Amy Morton in 2012, they wanted Found to be about more than just a restaurant.

“We wanted there to be a philanthropic point to it,” she said. “It’s about helping organizations in our community.”

Email: [email protected]