Bracken’s Kitchen Philanthropy
Recovered food is his inspiration.
Bracken’s Kitchen is the inspiration of Bill Bracken, a nationally renowned chef with over 35 years of experience in the hospitality business.
After graduating with honors from the Culinary Institute of America, Bracken began what was to be a long and successful career with a number of acclaimed hotels and restaurants including the Peninsula Beverly Hills and the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach. He eventually opened the DivBar in Newport Beach, a way to connect his love of good food with an entrepreneurial spirit, and later became involved in a variety of nonprofit work, including volunteering his services to the Orange County Rescue Mission as a regular guest chef. It was Bracken’s work at the mission that reconfirmed his concerns about the significant levels of food insecurity that exist within Orange County, and he set about to find a way to leverage his talent, experience and connections to make a difference and feed the hungry.
Bracken wanted to open a kitchen to help address the problems, but realized that hunger in Orange County has its own set of challenges, not the least of which included a primary concern of reaching food insecure families and children distributed over a broad geographic area. People without resources who are already stretched thin are unable to travel regularly and over distances, even in pursuit of the nutritious meals that Bracken wanted to provide. After some deliberation, he came to the conclusion that the answer could be found in the trendy new rebirth of an age-old business: mobile food trucks. If the people could not come to him, Bracken decided he would take the food to the people.
Food trucks are an answer to this challenging situation facing Orange County. In the hands of a skilled, experienced chef and entrepreneur, mobile kitchens have the ability to take nutritious, high-quality food directly into the communities that need it the most. The plan has elements that are philanthropic, sustainable, and collaborative. It is philanthropic as it addresses the heart of concern for the suffering of too many in a county that is known for wealth and opulence. It contains an essential element of sustainability as the food trucks will split their time between charitable and profitable feeding. It is collaborative as Bracken’s Kitchen plans to work with a variety of community partners, including hubs like Illumination Foundation, Working Wardrobes and Miracles for Kids as well as other homeless shelters and food distribution sites.