You don’t need a cookbook to make a connection between food and the written word. Just ask the hundreds of delighted attendees who turned the San Diego Council on Literacy’s Eat.Drink.Read. event into a huge success this year.

“The main thing that differentiates Eat.Drink.Read. from other culinary and beer events in town is that people are eating dishes and enjoying pairings that are inspired by the chefs’ favorite books,” said Jacqueline Silverman, one of the event’s organizers. “That added ingredient creates a magical recipe for success.”
About 300 people attended Eat.Drink.Read., raising tens of thousands of dollars for the San Diego Council on Literacy, which works with local organizations to teach children and adults how to read.
“In addition to raising funds for literacy programs, this event helped us raise awareness about literacy itself,” said Jose Cruz, the CEO of the San Diego Council on Literacy. “New visibility results in increased literacy awareness, more resources, more volunteerism, and more people knowing where to go if they need help.”

Local chefs at Eat.Drink.Read paid tribute to books with mouthwatering dishes, many of which were paired with local brews.

Leroy’s Kitchen and Lounge featured a Salad of Wild Things paired with The Lost Abbey in honor of Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild.”
Amaya at the Grand Del Mar served beef short rib bourguignon smoked bacon soubsie trofie pasta in honor of Julia Child’s “My Life in France.”
Underbelly’s Chef Michael Mora featured sous-vide pork ribs in honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “La horajarasca.”
Dessert First’s chef Rachel Barro served strawberry shortcakes in honor of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

“We believe that the pairings of crafted beers with chef dishes was a difference maker,” said Cruz . “San Diego area residents are sophisticated about their beer options. We responded to their interests and preferences, and people really appreciated our attention.”
One of the highlights of the evening was the auction of an unusual and slightly risqué piece of art by Voice of San Diego CEO Scott Lewis.

The winner was one of the San Diego Council on Literacy’s top supporters Phil Blair, president of Manpower San Diego, which links job seekers to employers.
“The auction was great fun, providing an entertaining and appreciated windfall for the evening,” said Silverman.

“Job Won: 500,000 Hires and Counting!” Author Phil Blair, public relations maven Laura Walcher and San Diego Council on Literacy CEO Jose Cruz along with the artwork.

The funds raised at Eat.Drink.Read will help the San Diego Council on Literacy continue its efforts throughout the county. An estimated 20 percent of local adults can’t read at a basic level, putting them at risk of joblessness and making it difficult for them to help their children learn.
In the big picture, “the chefs, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, media, and attendees at Eat.Drink.Read. showed just how generous the people in our community are and how passionate they can be in response to efforts that affect quality of life issues for all residents,” said Cruz. “Surely there is something to be said for the many centuries in which mankind has come together to make change happen around good food, drink, and company. Eat.Drink.Read. continues this tradition.”

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