Common Threads' World Festival Brings Together Good Chefs For a Better Cause

We here at Short Order are enthusiastic supporters of good causes, especially when they include teaching kids about healthy eating, accepting other cultures and wielding an eight-inch chef's knife.

Common Threads, the Chicago-based nonprofit founded by Oprah's former private chef Art Smith, does exactly that. The Miami extension on Oct. 2 will host its annual World Festival, which raises funds to support its programs in six public schools spread across the county, at the Moore Building in the Design District from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.

(Full disclosure: I raised funds and volunteered for Common Threads in 2010 and 2011, but am no longer involved.)

The roster of chefs, who will dish out all the food you can handle, is a decent showing for the $150 ticket. They include My Ceviche's Sam Gorenstein, The Dutch's Conor Hanlon, Blue Collar's Daniel Serfer and DB Bistro Moderne's Matthieu Goddard. Michelle Bernstein, who is the celebrity chef spokesperson for Common Threads in Miami and lovingly referred to as "Mamma Bernstein," will be on hand as well.

Common Threads classes run in schools from early October to mid December. Each weekly class, led by a volunteer chef, focuses on a different cuisine from a different country. Students are divided into groups and set out on different tasks. Some compose a salad. Some boil pasta during the Italian class. Some chop mirepoix, the ubiquitous mix of onions, carrots and celery. Few things are more terrifying that seeing an elementary school child grab a gleaming knife and try to dice an onion. Volunteers are always on hand shouting "bear claw," instructing students to hold the vegetable with their fingertips curled toward their palms and out of harm's way. Classes also emphasize the importance of using fresh ingredients, and take time to identify various fruits and vegetables. A second "semester" will bring a new class in during the spring, and volunteers are always needed to help the kids in the kitchen.

This is one all-you-can-eat party at the Moore Building you don't want to miss, and one effort you should be a part of.

Tickets are available by visiting the Common Threads website or by calling 312-329-2501.

For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird

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