As many of you already know, Contigo is the new name for my restaurant set to open the middle of 2008 at 1320 Castro Street in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco (read more about the restaurant here).
The name is Spanish for "with you." The name highlights one reason we go out to eat: connecting and reconnecting with friends and lovers, perhaps over a plate of charcuterie and a bottle of Cava. I like to expand that circle of friends to encompass our connections and relationships with farmers, ranchers, cooks, servers, diners, neighbors, lovers, trees, bees, and the person sitting next to us at the kitchen counter.
I'm thrilled that my first real post since announcing the name Contigo is about another relationship: our connection to our brothers and sisters in Africa who struggle daily with hunger and survival. Longtime IPOS readers will remember Menu for Hope, the annual fundraising event where food bloggers and others in the food industry offer prizes to raise money for humanitarian causes. Last year we raised over $60,000 for the UN World Food Programme.
This year Menu for Hope again partners with the WFP. Specifically, the funds raised will go towards partnering with rural African farmers to supply grain for school lunches to children in Lesotho, a tiny kingdom in Africa. Founder, organizer, and host of Menu for Hope, Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim, explains the reason we chose this program:
We chose to support the school lunch program because providing food for the children not only keeps them alive, but helps them stay in school so that they learn the skills to feed themselves in the future. We chose to support the program in Lesotho because it is a model program in local procurement - buying food locally to support local farmers and the local economy."
Read more details about the UN World Food Programme and Menu for Hope on Chez Pim.
UW17 "Contigo conmigo"
This is the third year in a row that IPOS will offer a prize for Menu for Hope. I'm dubbing this year's prize "Contigo conmigo." Conmigo means "with me." The winner of my prize, UW17, will literally dine with me.
I will host a 4-course dinner party for 8 people in my home.
That's right. Together with his or her 7 most favorite friends, the winner will be invited to be guests in my Noe Valley flat one night during the upcoming winter/spring before Contigo opens. I will personally cook every part of your meal in my kitchen or fireplace.
I'll work with the winner to choose a mutually acceptable date and to tailor a menu to his or her tastes, one that will showcase my restaurant's focus on seasonal, sustainable California fare with Spanish flair.
This is your chance to be the first kid on your block to say you've eaten at Contigo! Imagine the smug satisfaction as you lean up against the water cooler and casually drop the line before Contigo opens. "Oh, that old place, I ate there months ago. Be sure to order the sardines."
You'll get a unique behind the scenes look at the evolution of a restaurant's menu, the kind of inside look usually limited to restaurant investors and friends.
Best of all, you'll get to spend an entire evening hanging out conmigo, the handsome and witty raconteur and bon vivant behind your favorite website on the internets! Hahaha! Just kidding. The actual best part is that I'll cook for you without making you wash the dishes.
There's some flexibility to the prize. The winner and I can discuss alternatives, such as the possibility of holding the party at their home or converting their prize into $300 worth of gift certificates to dine at Contigo after it has opened.
If you're interested in buying into the Menu for Hope raffle, here's what you need to do:
2. Go to the donation site at First Giving and make a donation.
3. Please specify which prize you'd like in the "Personal Message" section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be divided amongst 2 tickets for UW01 and 3 tickets for UW17. Please write 2xUW01, 3xUW17.
Check back on Chez Pim on Wednesday, January 9, 2008, for the results of the raffle.
Thanks for your participation, and good luck in the raffle!
* Note to players of the Name Game. Don't worry. I haven't forgotten. I'm going to announce the winner of dinner for two at Contigo in a few days. I needed to take some time off from blogging to get caught up on my sleep, bills, cleaning, cooking, sleep, work, my social life, sleep, stuff like that. Thanks for your understanding.