This Chef Has a Simple Recipe for Giving Back
She’s helping to end childhood hunger and tackling the issue of food waste.
Hillary Sterling, executive chef at Vic’s in New York’s NoHo, prides herself on embodying the finest principles of the Italian culinary tradition: crafting delicious meals that feature locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, while minimizing food waste. Not even the skin of the carrots or parsnips are tossed aside in her kitchen.
“I think Italian cuisine is really the epitome of simple, elegant, delicious food without any excess,” says Sterling. “They grow what they make and that's it. And they use what they have.”
About 30 percent of food is wasted in the US, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Nearly all of that food — 95 percent — is simply thrown away, leading to an average loss of 38 million tons of food per year.
But hunger in America isn’t a supply problem — there’s more than enough food to meet demand. And that doesn’t sit well with a community-minded chef like Sterling.
"I’m here to feed people but I’m also here to educate,” Sterling said. “There’s no reason we should not be helping people — especially children.”
That passion inspired Sterling to join other chefs who volunteer with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign by Share Our Strength focused on ending childhood hunger in the U.S. through programs like school breakfast and summer meals.
Of course, no one should ever grow up hungry and yet more than 11 million children in the United States live in food insecure households. Children who regularly miss meals can face an increased risk of a range of medical conditions, including chronic ailments like asthma and anemia. They're also more likely to struggle at school — and problems can persist even after their food insecurity problems are addressed. But hunger is a solvable issue and today, according to No Kid Hungry, one-third fewer kids live with hunger in America than when the organization began nine years ago.
With the support of its long-time partner Citi, No Kid Hungry has provided more than 150 million meals to kids in need. And this year on #GivingTuesday, Citi is once again matching all donations up to $100,000 – enough to provide one million additional meals.