Common Threads Cooking for Life Chef Takeover (NYC)

Today, American children are in the midst of an unsettling crisis because they are not being provided with the skills to eat and cook healthy. More than fifteen million children face hunger and, according to the Center for Disease Control, “one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese.”  In low-income communities, children “are becoming obese at rates higher than the national average” and “40% of children in African American and Hispanic communities are overweight or obese.”  Additionally, those who are faced with these conditions are “at risk for asthma, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health conditions.”  Fortunately, the non-profit organization Common Threads has made it their mission to teach children, families, and educators how to cook for life.

Last Thursday, Common Threads hosted their Cooking for Life Chef Takeover Fueled by Circuit of the Americas. The pop-up dinner was the third of their five-city series that benefits underserved communities in which Common Threads offers programs to educate groups on healthful eating. The evening was hosted by the hilarious Adam Richman, author and television personality of Man v. Food and Secret Eats. Also in attendance was celebrity chef Tom Colicchio (Bravo’s Top Chef and owner of Riverpark, the intimate farm-to-table restaurant where the event was held) and guest host Gail Simmons (Bravo’s Top Chef) and Tamron Hall (Investigation Discovery’s Deadline: Crime and formerly of NBC’s Today).

The evening began with small bites and cocktails as served by Chef Christian Apetz and Common Threads kids, or mini chefs as we like to call them. Guests enjoyed Petit Quiche Lorraine a la Julia and Dijon and Herbs de Provence Crusted Lamb Lion Lollipops as they gazed out at the East River view. They also got a chance to bid on auction items like signed ballet pointe shoes worn by a New York City Ballet Dancer or a two-night stay at the Gardenworks Farm in upstate New York. Afterwards, guests were invited to take their seats in the main dining area where the five-course meal was served. Each course was inspired by Julia Childs and included an exquisite wine pairing. Among our favorites was the Bouliabesse Ravioli (served with calamari, mussels, clams, and fresh dill) and Marques De Riscal Rueda wine prepared by Chef Silvia Barban – c’est magnifique! Chefs David Katz, Andrew Smith, Fany Gerson, Govind Armstrong, and Umber Ahmad equally dazzled the crowd with their culinary delights.

Throughout the evening many speakers dished on the success many participants have achieved by being apart of the Common Threads community. For instance, a parent coordinator shared how one single mother in Brooklyn lost 100 pounds after utilizing the skills she learned in a parent workshop. Common Threads was also able to exceed their goal and help feed 15,000 kids and educators over the summer. It is success stories like these that make Common Threads an extraordinary organization.

For more information or to help Common Threads reach their goal of “getting one million children cooking for life by 2020,” visit

-James Bianca