The 57th Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C., ended on a high note when exhibitors broke records by donating 153,000 pounds of specialty foods and beverages to area residents in need.

Food News Media’s Editorial Director, Blair Chancey, attended the Fancy Food Show last month! Read about her experience here.

The food was the single largest food donation in the history of D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK), the Fancy Food Show’s local charity of choice. The items included artisanal cheese, olives, snacks, sausages, spices, and other specialties from around the world. The food was gathered by nearly 200 volunteers, including James Beard Award-winning chef José Andrés, a longtime board member of DCCK.

“This was a wonderful way to end the show,” says Ann Daw, president of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc., the show’s owner. “The monumental food donation by our generous exhibitors is one of our proudest traditions.”

The Summer Fancy Food Show is the largest marketplace for specialty foods and beverages in North America. It was held July 10 – 12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Exhibitors from 80 countries and regions filled 318,000 square feet of exhibit space with 180,000 specialty food items, from hibiscus jam made in Senegal to hand-crafted salami from Salt Lake City. The show attracted 18,000 buyers from top names in retailing and restaurants worldwide to source new products to present to consumers in the year ahead.

DCCK deployed the donated food to area food banks, and to its own kitchens to use in the 6,000 meals it prepares every day. Some of the more unusual items, such as specialty olive oil and pickled vegetables, are being used in the organization’s Culinary Job Training Program.

“This is an amazing donation,” says Mike Curtin, chief executive of DCCK. “The caliber of food, and the largesse, is helping us further our mission in a significant way.” (Read more about DCCK in this Q&A with CEO Mike Curtin published in the July 2011 Specialty Food Magazine: Doing Right at DC Central Kitchen).

The Summer Fancy Food Show moved to Washington this year from its long-time home at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City due to on-going construction. It will be held again in Washington on June 17 – 19, 2012, and is slated to return to New York in 2013. In New York, exhibitors have been donating food to City Harvest, a leading anti-hunger charity, for more than two decades.

The NASFT presents two Fancy Food Shows each year. The Winter Fancy Food Show will be held Jan. 15-17, 2012, at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Last January, exhibitors at the Winter Show donated food to Feed the Hungry.

Chef Profiles, Industry News, Philanthropy