Running a restaurant involves working very long hours, but some restaurant owners still find time for community involvement, creating opportunities by donating time, food, space and resources to organizations that provide training and scholarships to students.
Lillian Chu, owner of Bend's 5 Fusion and Sushi Bar prioritizes giving back to the community. The 5 Fusion and Sushi Bar Charity Dinner series has raised more than $200,000 since 2009 with its collaborative dinners, helping many organizations, including the Education Fund for Bend-La Pine Schools. In the past, 5 Fusion's co-owner and executive chef Joe Kim, and Barrio's Steven Draheim, (the Source's 2016 Readers' Choice winner), collaborated on a charity dinner benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Kim is a 2016 semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award, and has worked with the foundation to raise thousands for local culinary scholarships to Cascade Culinary Institute.
CCI students, in turn, and several local restaurants helped raise $327,000 for scholarships at Central Oregon Community College through the 2016 Taste of the Town and Meal of the Year events in February.
Several local restaurants and chefs participated, including 10 Below, Anthony's, Awbrey Glen, Back to the Tables, Baldy's BBQ, Bellatazza, Bendistillery, Bleu Bite Catering, Bonta Artisan Gelato, Cake Lady, Cascade Catering Company, Deschutes Brewery, Foxtail Bakeshop, Elevation, Hola, Primal Cuts Meat Market, Range at Brasada Ranch, Sunriver Resort, Tate & Tate Catering, Tetherow Grill/The Row and The Curry Shack.
All proceeds went to COCC's scholarship fund.