Top Phoenix chefs cook steak lunch for over 1,000 unsheltered people | Phoenix New Times
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Top Valley chefs cook steak lunch for over 1,000 unsheltered people

Valley chefs Christopher Gross, Vincent Guerithault and more came together to serve lunch at St. Vincent de Paul in downtown Phoenix.
Several Valley chefs came together to create a steak lunch for more than 1,000 unsheltered people in Phoenix. The meal was hosted at St. Vincent de Paul in its downtown Phoenix location as part of the Key Campus (formerly the Human Services Campus).
Several Valley chefs came together to create a steak lunch for more than 1,000 unsheltered people in Phoenix. The meal was hosted at St. Vincent de Paul in its downtown Phoenix location as part of the Key Campus (formerly the Human Services Campus). Sara Crocker
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St. Vincent de Paul serves hundreds of meals every day from its downtown Pheonix dining room, but Wednesday's lunch line was a little different. A who’s who of powerhouse Valley chefs came together to make a memorable steak lunch for more than 1,000 people experiencing homelessness.

“We all feel pretty good after a meal,” says Jessica Berg, the chief program officer for St. Vincent de Paul. “We’re very grateful for all the community support to make this happen and all the meals happen."

In addition to providing a warm, nutritious lunch organizers and chefs say the goal of the afternoon was to inspire hope and raise awareness about the need.

click to enlarge Chefs work the line at St. Vincent de Paul.
Chef Marc Lupino, the chief executive chef of Prime Steak Concepts, served mashed potatoes at the St. Vincent de Paul lunch event.
Sara Crocker
Marc Lupino is the chief executive chef of Prime Steak Concepts which includes Steak 44, Ocean 44, Dominick’s Steakhouse and Steak 48. He says even in the restaurant industry, where food abounds, sometimes the only meal restaurant workers eat in a day is the family meal provided at the eatery.

Lupino is sensitive to how hard it can be for people to make ends meet in a growing city that is becoming increasingly costly to live in.

“We appreciate what we have and what the world is going through,” Lupino says while dishing out mashed potatoes onto plates next to his daughter, who along with his son was there to volunteer. “These are special guests.”
click to enlarge Full plate of food at the steak lunch.
The chef-crafted meal included ribeye steak with Lupino’s signature rub, mashed potatoes, a shallot mushroom gravy, green beans, salad, a roll and plenty of birthday cake.
Sara Crocker
For a fourth year, St. Vincent de Paul hosted this steak lunch in honor of the iconic boxer Muhammad Ali, who also supported the nonprofit. The event is held annually on Ali’s birthday, Jan. 17. Ali died in 2016 in Scottsdale, and the celebratory lunch started the following year. This week, he would have celebrated his 82nd birthday.

Other chefs on the line with Lupino included Christopher Gross of Christopher's at Wrigley Mansion and Vincent on Camelback’s Vincent Guerithault.

The chefs crafted a meal of ribeye steak with Lupino’s signature rub, mashed potatoes, a shallot mushroom gravy, green beans, salad, rolls and plenty of birthday cake, provided by Chateau Luxe.
click to enlarge Takeout boxes filled with birthday cake.
Part of the meal included cake, a nod to the celebration of boxer Muhammad Ali's birthday. The athlete was a supporter of St. Vincent de Paul.
Sara Crocker
Patricia Diamond grooved to the energetic pop music playing overhead while she finished her meal. Footage of Ali boxing played on the TVs overhead.

“I enjoyed the steak, I enjoyed the food,” she says. “I had a lot of fun. I dance, I have a good time.”

Diamond, 67, visits St. Vincent de Paul for meals and to shelter. She hopes one day to return to the charity to pay it forward and volunteer.

“It’s a good homeless shelter. They should be putting more money into it for more people,” she says.
click to enlarge Patricia Diamond stands in front of a crowd at St. Vincent de Paul.
Patricia Diamond shared her gratitude for the meal and the shelter she's received from St. Vincent de Paul.
Sara Crocker

Reflecting on his day serving food at the shelter, chef Christopher Gross says, “you wish you could do it every day.”

The meal was made possible by local philanthropist Jimmy Walker, who launched the star-studded gala Celebrity Fight Night in 1994. Ali was the event’s guest of honor for more than two decades, and Walker and Ali forged a friendship. The lunch is another way that Walker says he can honor his friend and a community of people that he cared about deeply.

“This is what Muhammad Ali would want,” Walker said before lunch service began. “He said the greatest religion in the world is the religion of love – he lived by that.”
click to enlarge Chef Christopher Gross works the line.
Chef Christopher Gross finishes plates with rolls before handing them off to the lunch guests.
Sara Crocker
click to enlarge Four chefs work the line filling plates.
Top Valley chefs traded their fine dining kitchens to work the line at St. Vincent de Paul on Wednesday.
Sara Crocker
click to enlarge Giant birthday cake for Muhammad Ali.
The lunch celebrates the birthday of boxer Muhammad Ali, who was a supporter of St. Vincent de Paul.
Sara Crocker
click to enlarge Dining room at St. Vincent de Paul.
St. Vincent de Paul serves hundreds of meals daily from its downtown Phoenix dining room.
Sara Crocker
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