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Epicurious Wines, Dines, Donates

Eating gourmet food can help feed the hungry thanks to Epicurious’s Wine. Dine. Donate. program.

Tanya Steel, editor-in-chief at Conde Nast’s online food site Epicurious, envisioned the program after enjoying her Thanksgiving dinner last year so much that she wanted to extend the pleasure of good food to the hungry at Thanksgiving and beyond.

“We already wanted to create an event series to take Epicurious out into the real world,” said Elizabeth Stafford, executive director of marketing at CondeNet, New York. “So it fit in with what we were doing.”

The campaign begins Sept. 18 in San Francisco at restaurant Michael Mina. On Oct. 3 the event goes to Via Matta in Boston with the delicacies prepared by chef Michael Schlow. The Chicago event will be at Custom House with chef Shawn McClain on Oct. 24. The last dinner will occur in Dallas at Abacus with chef Kent Rathbun on Nov. 12.

Proceeds from the dinners will be contributed to America’s Second Harvest, one of the nation’s largest hunger-relief organizations. The charity distributes 2 billion pounds of donated food and groceries annually. It also supports 50,000 local charitable agencies operating 94,000 programs including afterschool programs, emergency shelters, food pantries, Kids Cafes and soup kitchens.

The online element to the campaign lets dinner party hosts participate in raising money for the hungry as well. Hosts can go to www.epicurious.com and find recipes that correspond to the food served at the event dinners. Epicurious also provides wine pairings and branded eVite e-mails.

The entertaining chefs raise funds by asking guests for contributions to the campaign. The dinner party hosts then can go to the Epicurious Web site or visit the charity at www.secondharvest.org to make the donation.

Marketing includes regional targeting of users with direct mail and e-mail as well as ads in print and online. Readers of Bon Appetit, Domino and Parade will be encouraged to participate, as will visitors to the Epicurious Web site and www.condenet.com.

Epicurious plans to make this charity event an annual occurrence varying the locations.

“We are already starting to think about next year’s event,” Ms. Stafford said. “We have already been approached by a few New York restaurants.”

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