Few exemplify the power of food bringing people together better than The Picnic Project. This Sanford-based nonprofit is sticking with what they know best by hosting an afternoon of delicious bites from local chefs at Dees Brothers Brewery on April 22. The inaugural Taste & Sip will offer samples from established culinary partners, craft brews from Dees Brothers Brewery, and live music from Johnny Diggz and Justin Kangrga. All proceeds from the day support the mission of The Picnic Project which is to foster a healthy community by providing access to fresh, delicious, nutrient-dense food.
Since 2010, Picnic Project has been sharing food with friends, and they are delighted to be teaming up with chefs who share their passion for community. One of the chefs, Nat Russell, from The Tennessee Truffle is collaborating with The Picnic Project’s co-founder Chef Mark Thompson to create a dish with Canaveral Shrimp, Anson Mills grits and Frog Song Organics vegetables in an unexpected version of shrimp and grits.
Alex Diaz from Alex’s Fresh Kitchen will showcase his popular, award-winning Mamba Burger and Jacked Up Vegan will be slinging street tacos. Other culinary partners include Red Panda Noodle Co., Smoke in the City BBQ, Annie D’s, Smith Estates and Farms, Wondermade, Olde Hearth Bread Company and Hollerbach’s German Restaurant will be featured during the VIP hour.
There will be something for everyone, with burgers and barbecue, vegetables and vegan dishes, and non-beer beverages like sangria and lemonade. Tickets for the delicious day of food, drink, music and philanthropy are now available with General Admission ($45) and VIP ($65) options at give.picnicproject.org/taste. There are also a limited quantity of 2-pack discounted specials. Doors open at 1 p.m. (VIP noon), and the benefit will continue until 4 p.m. Dees Brothers Brewery is located at 210 S. Magnolia Ave., in historic downtown Sanford.
The Picnic Project believes in big tables and open arms and has been sharing food and hope with friends for over 13 years. In that time, tens of thousands of meals have been served, a food pantry was founded, and partnerships were forged with government agencies, charities and business partners. Clothing, haircuts, health screenings, toiletries, pastoral care, and referrals are also offered. The Picnic Project is a 501c3 nonprofit equal opportunity provider located at the Neighborhood Co-Op in downtown Sanford, Florida. To contact, call 321-222-0995 or visit www.picnicproject.org.
Chef Mark Thompson has been immersed in the hospitality industry since taking a part-time job at a concession stand over 25 years ago. Since then, he was Sous Chef at the James Beard Award-nominated Spanish River Grill, Chef de Cuisine at Txokos Basque Kitchen, and helmed Blue Dahlia, Two Blondes & a Shrimp and others. His most recent post was Executive Chef of Dandelion Cafe, an eco-friendly, vegan café in Orlando. Since the pandemic, he and co-founder Ryan Bozeman have focused on Picnic Project full-time looking for innovative ways to bring food security and justice to the local community.