On the eve of President Obama’s inauguration last year, top chefs, writers and artists from all over America descended on Washington to put on Art. Food. Hope. They served up a dozen amazing meals, inspired numerous conversations about what the new administration could do to show its commitment to sustainable agriculture, healthy food culture, and solutions to hunger.  Needless to say, the dinners were completely sold out, and they raised more than $100,000 for local charities like Martha’s Table and the DC Central Kitchen.  As luck would have it, we here at Capital Spice were even lucky enough to be at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market that Sunday morning when Alice Waters and several other participating chefs stopped by to pick up some ingredients.

Ris Lacoste, Barton Seaver and Alice Waters with representatives from FreshFarm Markets, Martha's Table and DC Central Kitchen

They figured it worked so well last time, why not try it again this year?  In the same spirit as last year’s event, Jose Andres, Alice Waters and more than two dozen local and national chefs will be working to put on 15 dinners on Sunday, January 24th.  To make it even more interesting, this year they’ve added a “Sunday Night Sips” cocktail reception to precede the “Sunday Night Suppers.”

With seating at each dinner limited to 20 guests, intimate doesn’t even begin to describe this.  These are basically command performances by most of Washington’s most celebrated chefs, with a handful of imports from as far away as San Francisco thrown in for good measure.  Four courses and conversation, with the goal of continuing all of the positive impact that came out of last year.

Have dinner plans for Sunday, the 24th yet?  Check out the list of participating chefs after the jump and get some more information on how you can get involved.According to the invitation, guests at the 15 dinners will be treated to a 4-course meal from one of the following chefs:

Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve), Elizabeth Bourgeois (Le Mas Tourteron – Gordes, France), Jeffrey Buben (Vidalia), John Cochran and Sidra Forman (Home Restaurant),Todd Gray (Equinox), Tony Conte (The Oval Room), Katsuya Fukushima (Jose Andres Catering), Cesare Lanfrancone (Spezie), Jamie Leeds (Hank’s Oyster Bar), Brian McBride (Blue Duck Tavern), Julian Medina (Toloache – New York), Morou Ouattara (Kora), Michel Nischan (Dressing Room – Westport, CT), Kaz Okochi (Kaz Sushi Bistro), Charles Phan (The Slanted Door – San Francisco), Nora Pouillon (Restaurant Nora), Michel Richard (Citronelle), Nicholas Stefanelli (Bibiana), Fabio Trabocchi (Four Seasons – New York), Alice Waters & Cal Peternell (Chez Panisse), Robert Weland (Poste Brasserie)

That’s an impressive lineup by any measure.  Add in Will Artley (Evening Star Cafe), Mike Colletti (Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza), Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery), and Barton Seaver (Blue Ridge and Diamond District Seafood) for the cocktail event beforehand, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to get involved.  As if the beneficiaries weren’t reason enough.

There are very few food-related causes here in Washington that we get more excited about than the DC Central Kitchen.  Do you care about what all of those hotels and restaurants around town do with their surplus food?  DCCK has a program for that…to the tune of more than one ton every day. Is restaurant education your thing?  Their 12-week culinary job training program for the unemployed and their Fresh Start Catering operation provide theory and practice that prepare graduates for jobs in restaurants around the city.  And their meal distribution program helps to prepare and distribute more than 4,500 meals a day that are distributed through partner organizations and agencies.

That’s a lot of real-world answers to the question of hunger in Washington.  Of course, that much good work comes at a cost.  And that’s why the price for these Sunday Night Suppers is as high as it is.

Tickets for one of the private dinners (limited to 20 guests per dinner) are $500 each.  Sure, it’s a bit steep in these tough economic times, but it is for a good cause and contributions are tax deductible.  If that just doesn’t work with your budget, the Sunday Night Sips cocktail reception is only $125 per person, and Alice Waters is scheduled to attend the reception, too.

To buy your tickets, visit the Sunday Night Suppers Eventbrite page.  You can get more information about the evening’s program and reserve one of the few remaining spots for one of the dinners.

If you’ve been putting aside some money for a foodie splurge this year, think about putting it to good use at one of these Sunday Night Suppers.  What better way to help reform our nation’s approach to food than to enjoy a great meal cooked by a top-notch chef while benefiting Martha’s Table and the DC Central Kitchen?