Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

In January, we'll be posting short descriptions of the accepted proposals to pique your curiosity! Meanwhile, happy nearly 2015, from our team to yours.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Seeking Innovative Ideas for Winter 2015

We are currently soliciting proposals for our next DISHES dinner event, taking place on Sunday, February 8th, 2015! If you are interested in pitching your idea on stage for a chance to win $1,000, submit your proposal today. To fill out an application, follow this link - Request for Proposals.

Deadline to apply is Friday, November 14th at midnight!

*This year's killer RFP design was created by Tommy Lincoln. Thank you, Tommy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Decorator and Graphic Designer join the team!

The DISHES team has a new Decorator and Graphic Designer joining our team for the upcoming dinner in February and we can't wait for you all to see what they have in store for you!

Shauna Mae, owner of Maeflowers Vintage, will be setting the mood at the next dinner with her d├ęcor.  In the fall of 2013 she returned to her hometown of Syracuse to begin her dream- Maeflowers Vintage.  Since then maeflowers has been "popping up" around town selling vintage frocks, and Shauna has fallen back in love with Central New York.  And how fun is this: she's also available to throw private vintage clothing parties! Check out her website for more. We just love Shauna's style and can't wait to see what she comes up with for the next dinner!

Also joining the team this year as graphic designer is Tommy Lincoln.  He is a Syracuse born and raised Designer and Illustrator.  He's worked at a few different Syracuse advertising agencies, taught courses in design at SU and Cazenovia College, and most recently started working full time as a freelance designer.  You've likely seen his work advertising the Funky Flea, Flicks on the Crick, selling his colorful paintings at the Salt and Pepper Markets, or on the walls of Funk'n'Waffles.  We're excited that he's bringing his awesome design skills to the team- which you'll get to see firsthand when our Request for Proposals are released in just one week, on November 3rd!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Exciting changes to the DISHES team!

The DISHES team is starting to get ready for the next dinner, set to happen in early February 2015, and we have some exciting new changes to the team! While we will miss working with the amazing Briana Kohlbrenner, we are excited to be bringing not one, but two new Co-Directors onto the team!

The first is someone we've all come to know and love: Sarah Pallo!  This year she'll be shifting roles from Co-Chef to Co-Director, though she'll still be very involved with the kitchen and planning the big meal.  She's done such an amazing job putting together delicious meals since the beginning, and now we are excited to see her apply that passion and dedication to the entire DISHES event.  Along with good local food and drink, Sarah is passionate about the environment and her community and loves spending time with friends and family- and she's hoping to bring all of those passions and interests together when starting her own business in Syracuse in the future.

photo courtesy of Ryan Delaney, WRVO

We also have Jeremy DeChario joining us as Co-Director!  Jeremy is General Manager at the Syracuse Real Food Co-op and has a great deal of connections across the small business and farming community.  Jeremy lives in the Westcott Nation and spends his time living the good life through food and drink, which is why he has supported DISHES from the beginning, attending almost every single event!  We are excited to have him on the team! 

Meet the rest of our team here!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cooperative Permaculture Garden Update: Summer 2014

Big and exciting changes are ahead for the Cooperative Permaculture Garden at Nottingham High School, the 2013 DISHES winner.  Unfortunately the current garden space has had limited access this summer due to maintenance needs and will eventually need to be moved due to school expansion plans.  But the move is leading to bigger and better things for the Garden.  
A new space at the school has been confirmed, and a landscape architect (and student’s parent!) has started drawing some sketches for projects to undergo with the groundskeepers.   They are working on also creating a space to use as a grow-room for winter sprouting and hoops for raised beds for early transfers.  And they are hoping to roll out composting procedures and education during school lunches starting this fall.  The biggest bit of news is that a career and technical education certificate curriculum has been approved for Nottingham for Natural Sciences, with a focus on urban agriculture and environmental sciences.  The garden will provide the perfect space for hands on experience for students in this program!  Parents of soon-to-be high schoolers can call the school at 435-4380 and contact Vice Principal Ms. De Tore for more information.
Reina Apraez has been working as a volunteer consultant with Vice Principal Lynanne De Tore, the leader on the project.  This summer will also see the creation of an advisory board made up of representatives of local businesses and non-profits who can give in-school demonstrations and take on students as interns and volunteers for credit.  Some of the businesses and organizations who have signed on to help so far include Main Street Farms in Homer, NY; Syracuse Real Food Coop; and Alchemical Nursery.  Other businesses interested in participating can contact Ms. De Tore at 435-4380 or email Reina for more information.
While the project has changed over time, it is unfolding into a longer, larger, more sustainable project that has the potential to have a great impact on many young lives.  Reina is grateful for the momentum from DISHES and the engagement of the students and community who have acted as the catalyst for a stronger school culture at Nottingham that is focused on ecological concerns.  As Reina recently said about DISHES, “That one dinner planted the seed!”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Join Our Team!

Photo by Allison Gates,

Our third co-director, Briana Kohlbrenner, is stepping down from her position. It’ll be impossible to replace her, but Stasya and Annalena are going to try! Think you may be interested in the role?  Check out the details here and submit your resume and cover letter by June 30th.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Forget-Me-Nots Chorus starts this weekend!!

The 5th DISHES winners, the Forget-Me-Nots chorus, will begin the first of three ten-week sessions this Sunday, May 4th at Menorah Park at 3pm.  The session runs for 10 weeks, and a concert will take place on June 29th at 2pm, so mark your calendars!! 

Anyone in Central New York is invited to join.  The chorus is free for care givers and their loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s.  The only requirement is that participants love to sing and can handle a one-hour rehearsal.  Each week a social hour begins from 3-3:30 in the lobby, and the rehearsal is from 3:30-4:30.  Rehearsals will include vocal warm-ups, breathing exercises, and songs that are stimulating, rhythmically driven, and energetic, resulting in the joy of singing.  Francine Berg, who will lead the chorus, has experience as a choral director during her 35 years of public school music teaching, and has worked for 6 years at various dementia facilities.  There will also be a professional accompanist, a social worker, and an activities assistant helping out during the rehearsals. 

The chorus is a great way for family members to spend time and connect with their loved ones with Alzheimer’s.  The chorus also aims to make the community aware that people with dementia can live productive and fulfilling lives, as well as spread awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.  If you’re interested in participating, contact Francine at

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fifth DISHES a sold-out success!

The fifth DISHES dinner was a great success with plenty of delicious food and drinks to go around, great music, and fun and inspiring presentations and conversation.  Our $1,000 mini-grant was awarded to the Forget-Me-Nots, a chorus for persons with dementia and their caregivers!  And...we surprised the audience by awarding a second place $250 prize to Westside Walks! 

Thanks to all who attended , volunteered, helped, presented, supported, and donated - we're so grateful! We also want to wish the best of luck to the other presenters- we know they are also going to contribute to Syracuse and accomplish great things.  

Photo by Allison Gates,

Photo by Allison Gates,

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Are you excited yet?! We sure are. DISHES is tonight!! Our chefs are already working hard in the kitchen, decorations are up, and presenters are getting ready. We can't wait!!  Thanks everyone for another sold out dinner. See you tonight!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Thanks to our Local Farms!

Our incredible chefs are cooking up a rustic, hearty, farm-to-table style menu for tomorrow! In fact, they are already in the kitchen getting food prepped as this is being written. As usual, we'll have delicious options for our gluten free/vegan guests. And for the carnivores, we're cooking up creative dishes too!

Our chefs wouldn't be able to make the amazing food they do if it wasn't for the generous support of many of our local farms and businesses.  We thanked several of those farms two weeks ago, but we want to give a special thanks to the rest of them. 

Common Thread Community Farm has generously donated yellow onions, green cabbages, beets, and watermelon radishes! If you're hungry for some gorgeous fresh produce in your life, sign up for a 2014 CSA share with them and pick up your produce weekly at the Syracuse drop off site.

Di Lauro's Bakery and Pizzeria have donated ten loaves of bread for our dinner! They are right around the corner from the St Clare Theater.  Di Lauro's is a great Italian bakery that has been there for over 100 years!

Horsford Farms has provided some delicious potatoes and onions that are being sliced and diced this very minute!

Grindstone Farm has generously donated several all natural, pasture raised, free-range chickens and turkeys. Grindstone offers a variety of ways you can order directly from the farm, year-round, and they offer a variety of produce, dairy, meat, and other products. 

Main Street Farms has given us 15 pounds of delicious tender greens! They are an urban aquaponics farm, organic plant nursery, and education center, located in Homer, NY. Thanks Small Potatoes Sales & Marketing for connecting us with them! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Serving Wagner Valley Brews and Wines!

We want to give a great big thanks to Wagner Valley Brewing Co for providing beer AND wine this year! If you haven't been to their Winery & Brewery on Seneca Lake for beer and wine tastings, well, what are you waiting for?!?  Briana and Raymie (our co-director and co-chef!) had a great time visiting last summer, taking in the amazing views, and of course, the amazing wine!  We are so grateful for Wagner's generous donation to this year's dinner and for supporting the DISHES effort since the beginning.

Sponsor Spotlight: 40 Below!

We want to thank 40 Below for generously sponsoring our 5th DISHES dinner! 40 Below was created to connect, engage, and empower young adults in Central New York.  The organization aims to make CNY a more vibrant place, restore pride in our community, and harness the collective strength of our communities to make positive change. Hard not to see why they make such a great partner!

There's always something happening with 40 Below, like their annual New Year's Eve party, Speed Networking Events, and the recent Food Truck Festival.  They also have the Civic Engagement, It's All Here, and Public Arts Task Forces.  And if you're an entrepreneur or freelancer, you should stop by their CoWorks space downtown.

Check out their facebook page or sign up for weekly emails on their website to keep up with what's happening. Or join one of their Task Forces to get more involved! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Buy Your DISHES Tickets!

Tickets for DISHES are now available for purchase HERE! They'll be available online today through Friday, February 21st, but are likely to sell out quickly as only a limited number are available. Cost is $15-$25 each, sliding scale. Got questions? Email us!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thanks Again Cafe Kubal!

We're so grateful to Cafe Kubal for once again providing coffee for our DISHES diners! And we're excited to hear that this local favorite is growing and spreading across Central New York.  In addition to their cafes downtown, in the eastwood neighborhood, on the hill, and at the airport, they just opened a new location in Camillus.  Check out their facebook page for more!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Many Thanks to Our Local Farms!

One of the wonderful things about living in Central New York is the abundance of local farms just minutes away from Syracuse that offer a variety of great products. And we are especially lucky that so many of these wonderful farms are ready to support the DISHES effort!  We're eager to see what our great team of chefs (meet them here!) come up with using this year's donations. 

DISHES would not be possible without the generous donations of many of these farms, including:

Gianforte Farm for the 15 lbs of cornmeal they have offered. This incredible farm produces up to 13 different organic food grade grains and beans and is located in Cazenovia, New York. Their website features a number of recipes, including buckwheat gingersnaps and three layer corn bread.

Fruit of the Fungi for their donation of shiitake mushrooms. They are a great family farm committed to growing the finest gourmet mushrooms in Central New York. Learn more about them on their website, including where you can find their mushrooms. 

Wake Robin Farm for donating a wheel of cheese - the Mona Lisa! If you you're a regional market regular, you're probably familiar with their amazingly delicious maple yogurt or have tried one of their yummy cheeses. If you can't make it to the market, stop by the Syracuse Real Food Co-op, Skaneateles Bakery, or their farm store in Jordan to find their products.

Owen Orchards for the tasty apples they're donating. They offer a variety of their own, and other local goodies at their store in Weedsport. Including apple cider and apple cider donuts!

Stones Throw Farm for their generous donation of root vegetables. They grow a diverse array of specialty produce, herbs, and flowers on their farm just south of Syracuse. Check out their website for some wonderful recipes. And they're now accepting new members for the 2014 CSA season!

And there are more! But we'll save the rest for another day. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Tommy Connors Performing!

Our dinners always feature live music and on February 23,Tommy Connors ( will be performing, playing a mixture of covers and original songs. Big thanks to our Music Coordinator, Andrew Greacen, for working out all the details. We can't wait!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Delicious Desserts Await

We're excited to be offering 83 & Company's delicious mini-cheesecakes at the 5th DISHES dinner on February 23rd.  And to top if off, they will be vegan and gluten-free.  Along with cheesecakes 83 & Company bakes up a variety of delicious cupcakes and they create custom cakes.  In fact, just this past weekend they made an amazing looking Dome-shaped cake for the SU vs Duke game.  Check out their facebook page for photos and to catch their latest creations.  

And if you just can't wait till DISHES to try their desserts, stop by their new location at 115 Green Street, in the Hawley-Green neighborhood for a box lunch combo which includes 2 mini-cheesecakes! 

Your Lucky Tummy!

Rounding out our dessert menu is the My Lucky Tummy effort, providing DISHES with two delicious and worldly sweets: 
  • Kunefe by Muna, from Iraq: toasted, rose water-steeped vermicelli over homemade cheese with crumbled pistachio on top and
  • Shole Zard by Somayyeh, from Iran: saffron rice pudding with almond, pistachio & cinnamon garnish. 
At DISHES, you'll get to hear more about the My Lucky Tummy effort, but If you find your mouth watering over those descriptions, you should purchase a ticket to their event this Saturday! $20 buys you a taste of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Mohawk Nation, South Sudan and Iran. Vegetarian options aplenty.

Check out this month's Today's CNY Woman Magazine and for more details. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Posters are up!

Mark your calendars! It's official. The 5th DISHES dinner will be held on February 23rd at the St. Clare Theater at 800 N. Salina Street.  Tickets will be sold online only this year, starting on February 14th through the 21st (unless they sell out first!).  Check back here on our website to buy them.

We want to extend a big thank you to our team member Damian of Echo for designing the poster.  And to team member Sarah for hanging them around town.  We're excited for the big night, just over three weeks away!