Non-Profit Bracken’s Kitchen Re-Purposes Food into Delicious Meals for Underprivileged
Orange County-based Bracken’s Kitchen’s mission is to recover, re-purpose and restore both food and lives in their community. The chefs and volunteers who work with Bracken’s Kitchen are extremely committed to the families they serve, and they do it with a genuine passion that can be felt through their actions and their food.
One of their outreaches started three years ago at a home in Santa Ana.
“Ross Street was a house for the Illumination Foundation where the children could come and get after-school help. They’re all inside of a program where they would come to this house and they would basically be protected from going into gangs. It’s a safe place for them to come play and get help with their homework until their parents get off work,” said Jerry Babcock, executive chef of Bracken’s Kitchen.
Chef Bill Bracken, founder of Bracken’s Kitchen, was connected to the Illumination Foundation and started his very first feeding at their Ross Street location. Typically, they feed between 100 to 125 people, but the meal they served the Thursday before Christmas catered to 175 members of the community.
A significant amount of the food that is utilized by Bracken’s Kitchen would have been thrown away otherwise.
“Bracken’s Kitchen is unique because it’s not just feeding the homeless. [Bill] is taking a whole section of food that’s being thrown away and being wasted, all this product this B-quality, second-rate quality that’s usually going to go in the garbage, and he’s turning it into healthy, nutritious restaurant or hotel quality meals,” said Babcock.
The guests at Thursday night’s meal were treated to brazed ribeye steak with a mushroom mirepoix sauce, green beans cooked in garlic butter, roasted baby potatoes and a fresh salad made of red cabbage, three different types of lettuce, vegetables and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Several types of holiday cookies were donated by an outside group to complete the meal.
“It’s the extra mile and the things Bill has done to make this special. Most places aren’t doing that,” said Babcock.
When preparing large-scale meals for this weekly event and the many others Bracken’s Kitchen cooks for each week, Babcock trusts Cambro products to help him and his team get the job done.
“All my containers are [Cambro]. When you think of a two-quart, four-quart, six-quart, eight-quart, twenty-four, thirty-two, they’re all Cambros,” said Babcock. “When I’m calling out equipment, I say ‘Give me the Cambro’, ‘Give me the Cambro’, ‘Give me the Cambro!’ Everything is the Cambro. Without Cambro, I wouldn’t survive and it’s definitely the best quality in every kitchen I’ve ever worked in. It’s always been the standard.”
Visit www.brackenskitchen.com for more information on Bracken’s Kitchen and how to support their mission.
For more info on Cambro Cares, please visit www.cambrocares.com.