‘The best food event in DC’ is back — and for a good cause

One million: That is the number on chef Rock Harper’s mind these days.

It’s not the tally of TV appearances he hopes to land or the amount of fine dinners he intends to serve. One million is the number of meals Harper and 27 well-known chefs plan to provide to D.C.’s hungry and homeless community with the funds raised at one of the city’s biggest food parties.

The annual HeArt and Sole event is back Sept. 26, with a “Chopped”-style food competition for VIP-ticket holders, followed by an all-you-can taste soiree with signature cocktails for general-admission attendees. There will also be live music and an awards show recognizing local chefs who have donated their time and talents to the community.

“This is the best food event in D.C., hands down,” said Harper, a D.C.-area chef and winner of the reality cooking show, “Hell’s Kitchen.”

The event, held at the National Housing Center, benefits Central Union Mission — one of D.C.’s oldest social service agencies which provides beds, meals, clothes, veterans services, and transformation and workforce development programs to those in need.

Chef Rock Harper is the winner of “Hell’s Kitchen” and the host of the 2019 HeArt and Sole event, which benefits Central Union Mission, one of D.C.’s oldest social service agencies. (Courtesy Chef Rock Harper)

“Homelessness doesn’t look like and act like many people think. It has many different faces, if you will,” said Harper, who has been involved in the event for a few years.

“It’s really challenging to do anything — get a job, focus on school — when you’re hungry. So the impact is far reaching. When you can put a meal in someone’s stomach; when you can nourish someone — and maybe equally as important, tell someone, ‘I see you; you’re important to me’ — that’s really, really important as we fight together. Because no matter what, we’re all together on this. It impacts us all.”

Other confirmed chefs for the evening include Peter Chang, plus Jonathan Till from Evening Star Cafe, Andrew Holden from Cedar Knoll, and ‘SugaChef’ Padua Player.

General admission tickets start at $65; VIP access is $125.

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