Chef who revolutionized homeless food program at Miriam's Kitchen says goodbye after 14 years

Miriam's Kitchen Feeding Homeless

WASHINGTON — Ann Brown remembers walking through D.C.’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood 15 years ago and catching a whiff of canned collard greens and hot dogs at 6 a.m.

That smell was breakfast cooking at Miriam’s Kitchen, where Brown volunteered on Tuesdays as a dishwasher.

But in 2001, those smells stopped when Steven Badt stepped into the kitchen.

Badt, a chef who worked in restaurants in New York, Boston and D.C., didn’t see the need to treat the nonprofit’s food program any differently than a program in one of his restaurants.

So he replaced cans of mushy vegetables with fresh salads made from local greens, beans and nuts. Salty hot dogs were swapped for made-from-scratch waffles, omelets and home fries.

“Steve said, ‘I would never give anyone homeless something that I wouldn’t eat or you wouldn’t eat at home,’” Brown recalls.

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