Empty Bowls Fundraiser For Project MOST Returns On Sunday

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Twenty-eight Hamptons chefs will set up a smörgåsbord of soups on Sunday to benefit the Springs Seedlings program and Project MOST.

In its fifth year, the “Empty Bowls” event is expected to attract hundreds of hungry people all in the name of sustaining Project MOST’s Springs Seedlings greenhouse and outdoor garden, an after-school and summer program that teaches students the importance of growing and harvesting fresh food.

The organizers of the event ask that people arrive with their own empty bowls to use on Sunday, from noon until 3 p.m., in order to stay “green” and maintain a grass-roots feel.

“It fits with the spirit of what the greenhouse is all about,” said Tim Bryden, Project MOST’s executive director. “When we first did this, we were thinking more that it would give people the chance to relate and talk at a low-cost event. This is not meant to be a big expense on people’s budgets.”

Soups of all kinds will be ready for ladling—from matzo ball to bean and hominy, escarole, white bean and sausage, Alsatian onion soup with spanakopita, New England and Manhattan clam chowders to Vietnamese curried chicken, braised lamb and barley, and miso soups.

The chefs include Foody’s Bryan Futterman, Nick & Toni’s Joe Realmuto, Stuart’s Seafood’s Charlotte Klein Sasso, Estia’s Little Kitchen’s Colin Ambrose and Fresno’s Gretchen Menser.

For those who can’t stay or want even more soup to take home, there will be full containers ready to go.

“I happen to have my own ceramic bowl that I really like,” Mr. Bryden said. “The clam chowder from Stuart’s Seafood is really outstanding and Bryan Futterman’s matzo ball soup is unbelievable.”

He said that Kieran Brew’s French peasant soup in past years was from a family recipe, but that this year Mr. Brew is bringing garbure, which is a thick French soup or stew of ham with cabbage and other vegetables.

According to Mr. Realmuto, who is one of the founding members of the Seedlings project and a Project MOST board member, the event is a grass-roots way to bring the community together for a good cause.

“It’s a really nice event and not a high-end fundraiser where people spend $75 to $100,” he said. Entrance to the soup dinner is $12 per adult and $5 per child. “It’s growing too … I keep getting emails saying they’ve seen the event on Facebook and want to get involved. The community is throwing themselves at us.”

Empty Bowls started in 2009 to raise funds for the Springs Seedlings program, since Project MOST runs it on a $40,000 budget.

“This fundraiser is critical,” Mr. Bryden said. “If we can net out $10,000 it would be a big chunk of that budget.”

The Springs Seedlings program gives students the tools, literally, to grow their own food. Project MOST teachers guide students in what to plant and how and the value of growing your own vegetables. Once students harvest their crops, they learn how to use them in healthy recipes.

The Empty Bowls event will be held at the American Legion at 15 Montauk Highway in Amagansett. For more information, email givetoprojectmost@gmail.com or call 604-2777.

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