A Capital Food Fight with a surprising ending


Last night, Robert Egger, left, officially handed over D.C. Central Kitchen to chief executive Michael Curtin, right. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Was that really Padma Lakshmi onstage at the Reagan Building (the Reagan Building!), offering one lucky soul the chance to eat a slice of ham off her collarbone for $1,000, like some fundraising hussy? Did Andrew Zimmern just show everyone a photo of squirrel testicles that he had stored on his smartphone? Did Anthony Bourdain just say he’d make Zimmern his prison bit--. . . . well, see, the Paper of Record in Washington can’t even go that far.

The Food Fight was a crude, entertaining, funny, tasty and profitable evening, raising more than $600,000 for the organization that fights poverty and hunger in Washington. Bistro Bis chef and owner Jeffrey Buben beat out his competitors — Elisir’s Enzo Fargione, Cuba Libre’s Guillermo Pernot and Bourbon Steak’s Adam Sobel — to win this year’s fight, but he was upstaged in the end.

By the founder of D.C. Central Kitchen, no less.

Robert Egger announced he was leaving the organization in January to focus on his next project in California: to transform millions of pounds of unwanted fruits and vegetables into vegetarian and vegan meals and snacks.

“The time has come for this founder to move on himself, which is why I’m returning to the town of my roots, Los Angeles, to launch the L.A. Kitchen,” Egger said in this video announcement. “Next year in 2013, I plan to launch something that is going to be equally as bold as D.C. Central Kitchen, but taken to a very different level.”

Egger’s announcement may have been a surprise, but it wasn’t a total shock. He turned day-to-day operations over to chief executive Michael Curtin several years ago so that Egger could focus on his lobbying and politicking for nonprofits. Last year, Egger created the organization, CForward, to help political candidates better understand the role of nonprofits in their communities. Last night, he officially handed over his first baby, D.C. Central Kitchen, to Curtin.

“Robert is a visionary, a pioneer and a true social entrepreneur, even before the word was invented,” Curtin e-mailed All We Can Eat today.

“His drive and passion have inspired countless organizations and individuals to do things they never imagined possible and empowered them to change lives across the country and around the world,” Curtin said. “It is an honor and an incredible responsibility to carry Robert’s vision into the future, but I know the team we have is up to the challenge and looking forward to it.”

After the jump, you can relive the entire joyously profane Capital Food Fight via dozens of collected Tweets.

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires he ingest more calories than a draft horse.

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