How Can Your Culinary Career Help Others?

Star Chefs Go Big

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation recently raised over $2.5 million for New Orleans children in a single event. Lagasse's foundation, which seeks to "enrich the lives of many young people through the creative art of cooking," played host to some of the world's top chefs, pastry chefs and vintners at New Orleans's Carnivale du Vin.

Culinary Arts on the Local Level

$2.5 million? Emeril makes it look easy. The scale of his production was enormous, but you don't have to be a star chef to make a difference in people's lives. You can host your own bake-offs or food drives, and you could even offer your services as a personal chef at fundraising events. Food will always bring people toward a good cause.

Planning an Event

If you want to follow Emeril's lead and plan a special event, find the following for an unforgettable (and profitable) night:

  • A worthy cause: there are ton of them out there. You might think of causes that are of personal interest to you as a chef, or as in Emeril's case, of interest to the people in the surrounding community.
  • Some noteworthy sponsors: Emeril had the Food Network and Wine Spectator helping him. You might also think of local businesses that are willing to donate in-kind help with things like printing (for flyers, programs), advertising, and host gifts.
  • An unbeatable menu: obviously, your skills in the culinary arts come in best here. If you don't have world-renowned chefs at your disposal, you can still capitalize on big names by offering a "star chef" dinner that is inspired by big names people know.
  • Silent auction items: give people good stuff, like restaurant gift certificates, food and wine baskets and personal chef services.
  • A good party: get popular local musicians to donate their talents to a good cause.

Whether you want to plan a special event, or raise money in a low-profile manner, your culinary career brings the skills you need to gather people around a good cause.