Warm aromas and an inviting atmosphere led the fight against the torrents of last week’s rain as Casa Esperanza caters the homeless and needy, providing both a shelter and a warm meal for those without in Santa Barbara.
With an estimated 165,000 meals to serve this year, Casa Esperanza relies on a culmination of public funding, donations from local stores, and a host of volunteers to run the show. Iron Chef Cat Cora is the latest volunteer as she is hosting a kickoff for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to benefit the organization.
“Anytime you’re helping feed people, house people, [and] keep people dry in a day like this…it’s a labor of love” Cora explained as she discussed her involvement in wanting to benefit the Casa. “Nothing is too little for charity.”
Being on the Food Network for five years helped Cora to gain recognition, but her international culinary skills drove her to become the first and only female Iron Chef. “Those kinds of projects give me a voice and make me a household name,” Cora declared, “so that I can go out and promote these kinds of organizations that are trying to do good.”
The event is at Café Buenos Aires on February 4, and it promises to be exciting. “It’s a very global menu,” Cora summarized as she explained the cuisine that will be served: “Some of my favorite things…fun, playful, whimsical; things that movies are.”
While food and feeding the hungry remain at the heart of the event, the Iron Chef still promises not to hide her sincere and bubbly disposition in the kitchen; she’s planning on sticking around for the full two hours while meeting with the patrons and chatting before watching the film herself.
“I think it’s safe to say it’s going to be one of the events of the year in Santa Barbara.” And if her food tastes half as good as it looks on television, Iron Chef Cat Cora is probably right. With tickets for the event still on sale it’s time to “get out, support the Casa, and support the film festival,” said Cora.