Photo: Ciao Samin
Eleven days after Haiti's massive earthquake last January, Bay Area chef Samin Nosrat raised $23,000 by holding bake sales in the Bay Area to benefit the victims. For all those glass-half-empty folks who deemed playing with cake batter post-quake frivolous, Nosrat says the money speaks for itself: "There's something to be said for a bake sale." Since she earned more than quadruple her donation goal for Haiti, when the quake hit Japan, she thought, 'why not take it national?'
"I really feel like food connects people to each other, to the earth, to the people who taught us how to cook and to other cultures. That's the heart of all the work that I do," says Nosrat, a former chef at Eccolo and Chez Panisse who can be found cooking monthly after-hours dinners at Tartin, teaching cooking classes, lending Alice Waters a hand or writing for the Atlantic -- that is, when she's not making fresh pasta for the Slow Food-approved trattoria Pizzaiolo or manning Pop-Up General Store, a rotating gourmet shop that she cofounded in Oakland.
On April 2, all baked goods will be for sale by donation, meaning you can feel free to drop a Benjamin on a pie if you're so inclined, or an Abe Lincoln if that's more your wallet weight. "It's an action that promotes inclusion instead of exclusion," says Nosrat. "You can buy a cookie for a dollar and have helped." At a time when it's easy to feel powerless -- "like shook-up zombies" she says -- this gives people something to do.
All proceeds will go to Peace Winds Japan, a sister charity of Peace Winds America, the fund devoted to streamlinging disaster response plans in Asia. Specific locations for each city can be found on Samin's blog, and more can still be added. If you're looking to bake or know of a spot that could spare a table, contact Samin at email@example.com and get baking, America.
- See photos of the devastating earthquake in Japan at AOL News.
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