An Open Letter To Our Supporters

Last night I was truly blessed to enjoy “Friendsgiving” hosted by my good friend, Vanessa Ryan. Vanessa and I first met when I was a regular volunteer at the Orange County Rescue Mission. As I was working through the idea and concept of Bracken’s Kitchen, the rescue mission provided me an up close and personal look at poverty and to some degree hunger. I cooked dinner there every Wednesday night with Vanessa as my Sous Chef. Her regular full time job was at the Allergan Foundation. She loves cooking and, like I, volunteered her time at the mission. During those 2 ½ years of volunteering together we became close friends. While “Webster’s Dictionary defines friendship as the act of bein

Bracken’s Kitchen takes healthy meals to impoverished people

14 Bill Bracken picked up a spoon to stir a pot of stew. “This was made completely from scratch,” he said, pointing to pieces of chicken, zucchini and bok choy. “It’s full of vegetables, it’s low-fat, low-calories, low-sugar — nothing processed at all. I made it yesterday.We let it set for 24 hours to really set the flavors and we’ll heat it up later.” Bracken spent 25 years cooking at five-star luxury hotels for customers such as actor Sylvester Stallone and Hollywood filmmaker Ron Howard. But today, he serves a different clientele.

Breaking the cycle of poverty one meal at a time

A vivid red food truck summoned children from the playground at a Santa Ana after-school program with a loud burst of its distinctive horn: Aah-oooh-gah. A burly, bearded guy with a clean-shaven head steered Betsy, his 1986 truck, into a nearby parking lot where portable tables were set for dinner under pop-up tents. Chef Bill Bracken had come to serve free, hot meals and take-home add-ons that he and a corps of volunteers prepared for the children and their families, all homeless or hungry, or often, both. Betsy may be the most visible element of Bracken’s Kitchen, an innovative hunger-relief program started in 2013 by the former luxury hotel executive chef. The truck is one of a trio of se

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