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The biggest / brightest / best food extravaganza of the year is about to grace your presence. Dine-N-Dash is your excuse to take the city by storm and eat your way through some of D.C.’s best neighborhoods. Between sampling dishes from Boqueria, Oyamel, Sotto, Barcelona, Kith/Kin and Mi Vida and rubbing elbows with some of the best chefs in the city (and/or country), you can feel good about the fact that you’re supporting World Central Kitchen, an organization that travels around the world supplying folks in need with hot, nutritious and good meals.

In honor of Dine-N-Dash (it’s our favorite staff bonding activity, we have the photographic evidence), we hit up some of the awesome people at World Central Kitchen to talk about their favorite foods, their experience working for WCK and the one thing they always keep in their kitchen. Get ready to feel hungry.

Like what you read? Get your tickets to Dine-N-Dash right here.

Allison Sosna, Director of Nutrition

How did you get involved with World Central Kitchen?
I previously worked as a chef at DC Central Kitchen when I met Chef José Andrés. There I learned that he was starting a similar job training program. I made sure to continue watching his journey and eventually volunteered during the furlough in D.C. I came on as the Director of Nutrition a few weeks later. Full circle!

What’s your role at WCK? Can you give us an idea of your main duties during a relief effort or for your program?
Director of Nutrition. Prior to going on a relief effort, I make sure that the leaders of that activation are trained in nutrition education. That means knowing what foods to procure to optimize the nutritional value of the meals we provide. This includes an overview of demographics, priority vitamin and mineral sheet, and healthiest methods of cooking. During a relief effort, in addition to helping the team, I’ll conduct field work assessing the grocery stores and available ingredients. It’s important that we continue to support the communities we serve, especially those with high rates of food insecurity. I also speak to a lot of the residents that were impacted and try to learn more about their health, what they eat, and how we can support them in the future.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
My mom’s meatballs with garlic bread and arugula salad are hard to beat!

What is one thing you always have in the kitchen?
Microplane and chocolate.

Which is your favorite ThinkFoodGroup restaurant?
The Bazaar in Beverly Hills

Zomi Frankcom, Relief Administration Manager

How did you get involved with World Central Kitchen?
I was living in Antigua, Guatemala when the Fuego Volcano erupted in June 2018. World Central Kitchen had activated a kitchen there and they were by far the most well-organized and effective organization providing nutritious and culturally appropriate food relief to those in need. I began volunteering with them that June, chopping vegetables.

What’s your role at WCK? Can you give us an idea of your main duties during a relief effort or for your program?
I’m the Relief Administration Manager and my main duty during a relief effort is to manage the non-chef volunteers. However, depending on the activation I’ve done everything from drive a box truck through Tijuana peak hour traffic to Tetris-ing 600 pounds of protein into an overfull walk-in freezer. Working with volunteers is one of my favorite duties; it’s quite incredible to watch the community spirit of those affected by a disaster, the journey toward healing that happens before our eyes, the new friends that are made and the resilience and caring that are demonstrated every day that they show up and work their tails off for their neighbors in need.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
Probably every meal made by my Aunty Durga. I’m half Mizo, so the food of the north-eastern tribes of India is my soul food and you can’t really find it in other countries. So when I’m there, she makes me pork and bastenga which is a fermented bamboo shoot. They take pork very seriously up there, so it’s excellent quality and the preparations are always mouth-watering.

What is one thing you always have in the kitchen?
Kim-chi.

Which is your favorite ThinkFoodGroup restaurant?
I’ve only been to three since moving to D.C., but China Chilcano is my favorite so far.

Alexandra Garcia, Chief Program Officer

How did you get involved with World Central Kitchen?
I was hired a year ago this May! I had been watching the organization for a number of years as I became aware of José’s passion for clean cookstoves and his work in Haiti when I was consulting with the UN Foundation’s Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in 2010-2011. Since then I was watching out for the right opportunity – and finally, it came along early last year and I applied immediately!

What’s your role at WCK? Can you give us an idea of your main duties during a relief effort or for your program?
I am the Chief Program Officer, meaning that I oversee World Central Kitchen’s work that is not related to emergency relief, but that often develops directly from our emergency relief efforts and becomes long-term initiatives of the organization. We currently operate three main programs in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and Haiti) and Central America (Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras): Plow to Plate that supports smallholder farmers, Clean Cookstoves to encourage the adoption of clean cooking solutions by schools and households, and Culinary Training to promote workforce development in underserved communities and expand the reach of our emergency relief staff.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
Any meal at our lake house when we can get our whole family together.

What is one thing you always have in the kitchen?
My fondue pot – a traditional Swiss clay pot (complete with cows on the side). A gift from my Dad to ensure I never forget my Swiss roots.

Which is your favorite ThinkFoodGroup restaurant?
Well minibar of course – but that is a rare treat – so my go to would be China Chilcano.

What’s your Dine-N-Dash strategy / Do you have any advice for first timers?
Last year – my first Dine-N-Dash event – I ended up working at Puerto Rico House the entire night, managing the vendors and making sure all went smoothly. (I was only with World Central Kitchen two weeks!) I never got to try any of the restaurants! So this year – having earned my stripes – my goal is to go to at least five, actually eat and connect with supporters and friends of World Central Kitchen, and then end up at the MGM-sponsored VIP after party. My advice to first-timers from what my husband told me (he did go with friends to a bunch of places) – wear sneakers, start early and go late!

Tim Kilcoyne, Director of Chef Operations

How did you get involved with World Central Kitchen?
In December 2017, the Thomas Fire broke out in Ventura County, where I live. My family and I were evacuated for 10 days. World Central Kitchen had reached out to see if our now Director of Procurement and I wanted to help activate a relief kitchen for those affected by the fire as well as feeding first responders on the front lines.

What’s your role at WCK? Can you give us an idea of your main duties during a relief effort or for your program?
I am the Director of Chef Operations with World Central Kitchen. My main duties are helping to plan and activate during our relief operations. We are constantly evaluating what we do and seeing how we can improve and do things better and more efficiently. I also work with our Chef Network to build out our chef pool from around the world.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
The best meal I have ever had was within the past year. I had been gone for some time on a stressful activation and my first night home my wife cooked an amazing roasted salmon dish that I crave now numerous times a week.

What is one thing you always have in the kitchen?
One item that I always have in my kitchen is a nice bottle of smoked olive oil from Greece.

Which is your favorite ThinkFoodGroup restaurant?
My favorite TFG restaurant is China Chilcano. I love the freshness and lightness of the dishes.

What’s your Dine-N-Dash strategy / Do you have any advice for first timers?
I’m not from D.C., but the strategy I keep hearing is to build a map, eat quick, run and eat at as many locations as possible!

Photo by Cris Toala Olivares

Ramiro Arevalo, Manager of Partnerships and Digital Platform

How did you get involved with World Central Kitchen?
I first got involved with World Central Kitchen after hearing about the organization at Dorado in Puerto Rico. I then showed up to the relief effort in Guatemala four days after attending Dine-N-Dash last year.

What’s your role at WCK? Can you give us an idea of your main duties during a relief effort or for your program?
I’m the Manager of Partnerships and Digital Platforms. In the office and in the field, I help facilitate and manage partnerships to enhance our potential during an activation. I also help to manage international relief efforts where we operate with a smaller team. We are all team players so whatever needs to be done, we do. Currently, I’m working with our Chief Strategy Officer to find better ways to use our data.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
Street food in Singapore.

What is one thing you always have in the kitchen?
Avocado.

Which is your favorite ThinkFoodGroup restaurant?
Oyamel.

What’s your Dine-N-Dash strategy / Do you have any advice for first timers?
I’ve attended a few Dine-N-Dashes and I recommend the VIP ticket so you can finish later and get a head start. Also, start at the farthest away restaurants first.

Mikol Hoffman, Puerto Rico Program Manager

How did you get involved with World Central Kitchen?
Before Hurricane María, I was working in culinary tourism and after Maria, I was fundraising for Puerto Rican coffee farmers whose crops had been decimated by the storm. These roles definitely led to working at World Central Kitchen, which has been like the sum of all the parts of my professional trajectory. These last few months have been especially intense because there’s still so much need on the island, but it’s been incredibly fulfilling to help farmers and food businesses in their recovery process, and fascinating to travel around the island getting to know them all. I’ve been traveling to farms on parts of the island I’d never even been to before, and get to feel like a tourist in my own home at times!

What’s your role at WCK? Can you give us an idea of your main duties during a relief effort or for your program?
My role at World Central Kitchen is Puerto Rico Program Manager and my main duties are to develop and manage our long-term recovery efforts on the island, specifically, our agricultural revitalization program Plow to Plate. It aims to increase Puerto Rico’s food security and revitalize its food economy by supporting smallholder farmers and food-related businesses by providing grants to increase food production, capacity building and networking to increase market access, and agrotourism / voluntourism opportunities to increase human capital for our farm-based grantees. As a whole, Plow to Plate aims to foster the ag sector in Puerto Rico through direct grants to support the revitalization of farms, farming groups, and food-related businesses as they seek to reestablish their long-term capacity for food production, distribution, and sales.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
So many it’s hard to choose just one! I would say of all the places I’ve traveled and eaten (over 50 countries!), Peru has my heart and my belly. The food at every restaurant, every road-side stand or hole-in-the-wall was incredible: the causas, the chupes, the ceviches, the piscos. And the variety of the cuisine was amazing, from barbecues to Japanese fusions. One particularly amazing meal that stands out was the tasting menu at Maido in Lima.

What is one thing you always have in the kitchen?
Puerto Rican coffee, always. Best way to start the day.

Which is your favorite ThinkFoodGroup restaurant?
Zaytinya. My mom’s family has Turkish roots so Mediterranean cuisine has always hit close to home for me. I remember the first time I went with my mom back when I was in college at Georgetown. We were both blown away by how amazing the food was and to be trying some of the same dishes my grandmother used to make.

What’s your Dine-N-Dash strategy / Do you have any advice for first timers?
This is my first year going to Dine-N-Dash and I’m super excited. Can’t wait for all the amazing eats and to support World Central Kitchen!

Erich Broksas, Chief Strategy Officer

How did you get involved with World Central Kitchen?
I have been friends with José and Nate Mook, our Executive Director, for years and was inspired by their work in Puerto Rico, the California wildfires, and the Guatemala volcano. I wanted to help scale the organization to be able to respond to major natural disasters. Three weeks after I started, I was heading the Wilmington, NC ahead of Hurricane Florence so that we could be on the ground to feed first responders and those affected by the storm even before landfall. I have been hooked ever since.

What’s your role at WCK? Can you give us an idea of your main duties during a relief effort or for your program?
My focus is on strategic partnerships that help us do our job more efficiently when responding to disasters. I need to make sure our teams are equipped with all the physical and digital tools needed to assure they are safe, that we can operate quicker, faster, and more efficiently.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
This is truly a nuanced question. Are we talking breakfast, lunch or dinner? A planned and anticipated event or serendipity? Fine dining or on the street?

1) Fine Dining – The Kitchen Table at the Inn at Little Washington. My wife and I went with friends to celebrate two birthdays. The food was delicious, the wine list incredible and so much fun, and there were a couple of nice surprises along the way.

2) Street food – I Fratellini in Florence, Italy. Stumbled on this super tiny local sandwich shop walking the side streets in Florence. I still dream about the panini and a glass of wine sitting on the sidewalk.

What is one thing you always have in the kitchen?
In addition to a well-balanced chef’s knife, I love my microplane (the best grater and zester) for hard cheeses and zesting for cocktails.

Which is your favorite ThinkFoodGroup restaurant?
Jaleo was the first restaurant that I ate at when I first moved to D.C. I have loved Spanish cuisine ever since.

What’s your Dine-N-Dash strategy / Do you have any advice for first timers?
Seems obvious, but pace yourself. All of the restaurants will have amazing food and drink and the chefs have worked really hard to design their offerings to surprise and delight. You don’t want to miss out because you get too full too soon.

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