Boston Globe, October 2016

Tailgating with Andrew Zimmern, Joanne Chang, and Jamie Bissonnette

By Catherine Smart

October 12, 2016

Boston Globe

Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough isn’t the only reason for Boston to get fired up about tailgating. Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a local food rescue, will host its largest annual fund-raiser, the Ultimate Tailgate Party, on Nov. 6. Notable chefs including Andrew Zimmern, Joanne Chang, and Jamie Bissonnette — all members of the organization’s culinary board — will serve up game day-style food for the cause.

“We are the strongest and the largest that we’ve ever been. We are recovering just about 40,000 pounds of fresh, healthy food each week. We work with about 70 to 75 different vendors across Greater Boston and now beyond,” says founder and executive director Ashley Stanley.

Stanley is especially excited about a recent expansion that has allowed Lovin’ Spoonfuls to extend its mission beyond Boston to the MetroWest area, where the organization continues to pick up unused food from restaurants and grocers, delivering it in refrigerated trucks to social service organizations such as soup kitchens, vocational programs, and safe houses. “We were very, very pleased to have some incredibly visionary foundations — like Sudbury Foundation, Middlesex Foundation, Foundation for MetroWest, MetroWest Health Foundation — who are really on the forefront of saying, ‘Listen, hunger does not only exist in urban areas. It’s where people are.’ ’’

Stanley says the organization had been waiting for an opportunity to take its experience farther afield and help communities that, perhaps, didn’t even know they needed assistance. “It’s very easy to see, if you are living in an urban situation downtown, that you can walk through a great part of Boston, and then go a few streets and you are in a not-so-great part. It’s much more difficult to do that with a lot of tree-lined streets, where maybe a lot of the houses might look the same, or the county lines are maybe less defined. But I think, overall, the face of hunger continues to change and the solutions have to change and adapt right along with it.”

The $150 admission to the tailgate includes access to chefs’ tasting stations and complimentary wine, beer, and cocktails. There will also be a silent auction, with all proceeds benefiting Lovin’ Spoonfuls.

Stanley says the event is beloved because guests can feel a direct connection to the impact they are having. “Because of the eating, and the celebration, and the community that’s happening that night, we go back to work — not even 12 hours later — with what we’ve raised and further feed the community. So whether you are a chef, or you are somebody who is joining us for the night, it’s truly about feeding people at every single level. Events like this allow us to do our job, to do what we do every day.”

The Ultimate Tailgate Party takes place Nov. 6 from 7-10 p.m. at Cruiseport Boston. For tickets and information, go to www.lovinspoonfulsinc.org.