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Giving back is on the Community Feast menu
Aug. 18 event benefits Heal Charlotte
Published Wednesday, July 31, 2019 9:17 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Subrina and Chef Greg Collier stand in the space their new restaurant, Leah and Louise, will occupy in Camp North End in the fall. Greg Collier and baker Keia Mastrianni are convening the inaugural Community Feast Aug. 18.

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Sixteen chefs are cooking for love and community on Aug. 18.

Charlotte’s inaugural pay-what-you-can Community Feast takes place at Camp North End (1824 Statesville Ave.) at 6 p.m., led by James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist Chef Greg Collier and baker Keia Mastrianni.

Additional participating chefs include Jamie Lynch, Whitney Thomas, Mike Bowling, Marc Jacksina, Joe Kindred, Clarke Barlowe, Bruce Moffett, Chris Coleman, Jamie Turner, Jamie Swofford, Jim Noble, Ashley Boyd, Hector Gonzalez and Quientina Stewart.

“I like to think that it’s going to feel like a community potluck on a 1,000,” Collier said. “It’s literally 16 chefs preparing something that they love to cook for family in a space for 200 people. It’s going to be really great food—restaurant quality food.”

The meal features three proteins, three starches, four vegetable sides, three breaks, as well as three desert options.

“Everybody is trying to come and prepare the best protein or the salad or the best dessert they could possibly prepare, because it matters,” Collier said. “So often, we’re really concerned about the bottom line, price-points, and what our customer mix is. Rarely are we able to just cook—just for love, just for fun. No metrics involved. No bottom line involved. No profit involved. We just get to cook, and it’s for a great cause.”

Proceeds benefit Heal Charlotte, an organization founded by Greg Jackson as a bridge between city officials and those they serve.

“We’re going to see if we can work with people from north Charlotte and give them free tickets, and west Charlotte and east Charlotte … give tickets to people who cannot afford this type of dinner,” Collier said. “Indirectly, it’s a great cause, but directly, Heal Charlotte and what Greg Jackson is doing, I think everybody has a huge motivation to just come and cook a great dish. I expect some really stellar food. We’re going to build a makeshift, Carolina-style cinderblock pit outside.”

The feast itself, as well as the philanthropic component, stems from a James Beard Foundation summit held in Charlotte. Chefs noted a desire to have a greater impact on the community. It fell in line with the mission of Collier and his wife and business partner Subrina Collier.

“Subrina and I always want to make sure that we are doing our part to do things to help the community,” Collier said. “When we say community, we’re talking about people who look like us, because that is the community that we are from, and when Greg was talking about, ‘I’ve got at-risk teens, and we want to bring them around and show them what you do,’ I was like, ‘as soon as you figure out what I need to do, let me know so we can do it.’ There’s a lot of charities, but we like to focus on the ones we actually can see and touch.”

Collier, a Tennessee native, plans to prepare seasoned chicken with technique learned from his home state.

“I love smoking and grilling, and I love the traditional west Tennessee dry rub,” he said. “We will be doing a dry rubbed quarter chicken.”  

Initially, Collier intended to serve grits.

“I was like, ‘nah, it’s hot in the summertime,’” he said. “‘I ain’t gonna do no grits like that.’ I would expect a lot of southern sides. We’re going to try to convince Chef Noble to do a hog of some sort. It’s definitely going to be like a picnic, or a community church potluck, or something like that, with crazy food. I’m looking forward to it.”

Tickets start at $20.


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