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    ChefsGiving 2020: Cooking for a Cause

    By Liam P. Mayclem–

    This year California saw the worst wildfires in our history, taking out hundreds of homes, business, and wineries; and there was devastating loss of life, too. As our beloved Wine Country in Napa and Sonoma burned, we were all asking: What can we do?

    Initially, all we could do was watch as the fires raged for days then weeks. With fire season now in the rear view, this resilient community is rebuilding and starting over once again. 

    In 2017 I founded ChefsGiving, a community of chefs and hospitality industry people who came together in that initial time of need after that last massive fire season. Within weeks of the fires being extinguished, we launched a restaurant week and a ChefsGiving Gala and raised more than $750 000. The funds were given directly to those who lost their homes with support from our nonprofit partners Restaurants Care and the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund.

    ChefsGiving is back and this year, instead of a restaurant week and gala, we are launching a virtual cooking series featuring 30 chefs and star pals who are sharing their recipes in videotaped demos. Now for some name-dropping—the Chefs include:

    • 3 Michelin-starred Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn & Bar Crenn, who will be preparing Beet Tartare;
    • Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar Kitchen and star of her new show Tanya’s Kitchen Table on OWN, who will be baking Bacon & Cheese Biscuits;
    • Marcus Samuelson of Red Rooster NYNY, who will be whipping up a delicious version of Pumpkin Soup;
    • 4-time James Beard Award winner Andrew Zimmern, TV host of Bizarre Foods and more, who will be preparing a Rustic Spinach Soufflé;
    • Sammy “Red Rocker” Hagar, who will display his kitchen savvy with Spicy Salsa and a Red Saint Cocktail;
    • Crista Luedtke of Boon Cafe, Guerneville, who will be preparing Moroccan Carrots & Smoked Yoghurt;
    • and Ryan Scott of the Today show and Ryan Scott2Go, who will be putting together a seasonal Sourdough Bread Stuffing.

    Yours truly will also be in the mix, as I had the joy of making my mum’s Shepherd’s Pie with a French Twist along with celebrated French Chef Roland Passot.

    ChefsGiving 2020 is a partnership with Dads That Cook and Big Jim BBQ. Our producers said they got involved for this reason: “We are so honored to be Co-Founding ChefsGiving 2020. First responders battling these horrific wildfires this year are near and dear to us as we have lived in California for 30 years. Their heroics are remarkable and commendable. We hope everyone joins us in our endeavor to raise $1M for ChefsGiving 2020.”

    Tis the season for cooking, sharing, and eating at home with family. This year things are a little different because our strength in numbers is limiting the number we share our Thanksgiving meal with. But we have you covered with 30 chefs and 30 recipes. You can add all of the dishes to your culinary arsenal for the holiday season. For example, don’t miss Jacques Pépin’s “Roasted Turkey, Stuffing & Gravy”—a classic in the inimitable style of the renowned chef.

    There is a minimum donation of $30 to access all the recipes, but feel free to donate more and know that every donation counts and every single dollar helps those most in need. The funds raised will be distributed to our nonprofit partners, Gary Sinise Foundation and Tiny Homes for Fire Survivors, with both supporting first responders and those affected by the 2020 wildfires.

    It took a village of big-hearted chefs from across the country and around the Bay Area to make this happen. Big Jim BBQ, a dear friend and ChefsGiving founding chef, is always first in line to help. “It’s what we do,” he told me for the San Francisco Bay Times. “We feed people. We serve those in need and that brings us joy. It’s why we are in this business.”

    The chefs are indeed always the first to respond and donate time, food, and dinners to those in need. Even now, when they are facing their own challenges and hurdles with restaurant closures and COVID restrictions, they still showed up and said these words: “What can we do?”

    Please log on and sign up for the virtual cooking season of a lifetime with our favorite chefs and personalities. You’ll learn some useful new skills and delish recipes, and will benefit those in need at the same time. From the ChefsGiving team we say a heartfelt thank you!

    Bacon-Cheddar-Green Onion Biscuits

    3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tbsp baking powder
    2 tbsp kosher salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into cubes and
    1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    2 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
    2 slices bacon, chopped
    2 green onions, white parts only, chopped
    Heavy cream for brushing


    1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line two baking sheets
      with parchment paper.
    2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle
      attachment, combine the flour, baking powder,
      salt and baking soda, and mix briefly on low
      speed just to combine.
    3. Add the chilled butter and continue mixing on
      low speed until the butter is cut into pea-size
      pieces. Drizzle in the buttermilk and mix just
      until the dough forms a ball. Divide the dough
      into thirds.
    4. In a small bowl, combine the cheddar, bacon
      and green onions.
    5. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly
      floured rolling pin, roll out one piece of dough to
      an 11×8 1/2” rectangle and sprinkle with the half
      of the cheddar mixture.
    6. Roll out another piece of dough to an 11×8
      1/2” rectangle and layer on top of the dough with
      the cheddar mixture. Sprinkle the second layer
      of dough with the remaining cheddar mixture.
    7. Roll out the dough layers to make a 12×10”
    8. Using a 2” biscuit cutter, stamp out 18 biscuits
      and set them on the prepared baking sheets.
      Brush the tops with cream.
    9. Bake until just starting to turn golden but
      before the bottoms begin to brown, about 15
    10. Let cool slightly and serve warm.
    • To make ahead, store in an airtight container at room
      temperature for up to 1 day. Reheat in toaster oven.

    Sign up here:

    Emmy Award-winning radio and television personality Liam Mayclem is regularly featured on KPIX as well as KCBS, where he is the popular Foodie Chap. Born in London, Mayclem is now at home in the Bay Area, where he lives with his husband, photographer Rick Camargo. For more information:

    Published on November 19, 2020