One World Everybody Eats, an international nonprofit supporting a network of pay-what-you-can community cafes that help alleviate hunger, is pleased to announce that founder Denise Cerreta will be accept the James Beard Foundation’s 2017 Humanitarian of the Year Award on behalf of the organization on May 1st at the Chicago Lyric Opera. Dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and honoring chefs and industry leaders among America’s food culture, the James Beard Foundation and these prestigious awards were created to recognize visionary individuals and organizations working in the food industry.
“I am beyond humbled and honored to be receiving such a prestigious award from the James Beard Foundation on behalf of OWEE,” said Denise Cerreta, Founder of One World Everybody Eats. “I gratefully accept the Humanitarian Award on behalf of all the visionaries behind our pay-what-you-can cafes; their communities, and all the board members of One World Everybody Eats. My hope is that this recognition will fertilize the seed in the hearts of others who also want to eliminate hunger.”
Established in 1990, with the first awards ceremony held in May of 1991, the James Beard Foundation Awards have been referred to as the “Oscars” in the epicurean world and showcase the country’s top culinary talent. Awards are given in numerous categories from chefs to restaurants, to books to journalism, to broadcast media and restaurant design, as well as lifetime achievement and humanitarian awards. Judges are chosen by the governing committee for each awards category and are all considered experts in their fields.
In 2003, One World Everybody Eats began as a simple offering in a small café in Salt Lake City, UT. Owner Denise Cerreta noticed her patrons were struggling to make ends meet and, in what she describes as her ‘field of dreams’ experience, she decided to begin letting them pay what they could for their meals. Nearly 50 million Americans are food insecure, meaning families and individuals are accessing emergency food pantries, even scavenging or stealing, to meet their nutrition needs. To address this issue, OWEE supports the pay-what-you-can cafe model that helps communities increase food security at the local level.
Since its inception, more than 60 cafes have implemented the OWEE model, including Panera Bread and the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation for which Cerreta provided cafe opening guidance. Dozens of cafes are currently in development.
Collectively, OWEE cafes have served over 2 million meals, 30 percent of which were served to people of less means. Under OWEE’s platform, each cafe is committed to serving appealing, nutritious, locally sourced meals with dignity to everyone, while ultimately changing communities and their perspective on hunger.