We’re heading into that time of year when giving thanks and helping others comes naturally, a caring season during which breaking bread with others takes on deeper meaning. That’s the spirit in which local chefs Dana Rodriguez (Work & Class and forthcoming Super Mega Bien!) and Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall, Stoic & Genuine, and forthcoming Ultreia) will collaborate on November 13 at a Thanks and Giving Dinner to show their support for an important local charity, Work Options for Women (WOW).
“People don’t know a lot about my background, but the reason I moved [to Denver] was because of domestic violence,” Rodriguez says. “I feel really attached to that organization.” Rodriguez has cooked at WOW events since her time at Rioja and Bistro Vendôme, but this meal will be something special. “The flavors will be Mexican flavors,” Rodriguez says, “within traditional Thanksgiving dishes.” That translates to confit turkey legs with poblano gravy, scalloped potatoes with goat cheese and more poblanos, and spicy Brussels sprouts.
Jasinski also has a long history of working with WOW, and it’s been a favorite charity for her and Crafted Concepts partner, Beth Gruitch, for years. Jasinski’s half of the menu includes an apple and roasted butternut squash salad; bacon and golden raisin sourdough bread pudding (in lieu of stuffing); and a pumpkin pot de crème with house-made fluff and gingerbread cookies, inspired by the tradition of serving yams with marshmallows. “That dessert, in particular,” Jasinski says, “can easily be recreated at home and people will be successful.” That’s right—attendees will receive recipes for every dish served at the dinner so they can make them at home for their own holiday, or any night of the year.
“It was Dana and Jennifer’s idea to do a Thanksgiving-themed dinner,” says Bailey Denmark, WOW’s development director. “And it comes just in time to announce a new program at WOW: our mobile classroom.” To further its mission of providing culinary job training and other support services for women in the Denver community, this new initiative will help bring WOW’s programming to women going through re-entry (coming out of incarceration and going into halfway houses). “This demographic has always been a part of our community,” explains Denmark, “but they couldn’t always finish the program, what with time and transportation obstacles. Now we can bring the program to them.” The initiative was made possible by a $100,000 grant from Impact100 Metro Denver; part of the funding was used to repurpose a 24-foot trailer into the new culinary classroom, which will begin its journey this January by delivering an accelerated four- to six-week training program to residents of a Jefferson County halfway house.
To take part in Jasinski and Rodriguez’s support of Work Options for Women and take home their wonderful holiday recipes, click here and buy tickets to the Thanks and Giving Dinner. Tickets are $95 per seat or $120 to sit at the chef’s counter.