St. Anthony dining to be fit for epicures 

Some of The City’s hungriest will get a taste of "foodie" heaven this week, dining on 18,000 pounds of delectable treats such as exotic cheeses, smoked salmon and fancy creams donated to the St. Anthony Foundation daily meals program.

The foundation’s kitchen cooks as many as 3,200 plates made of 6,000 pounds of food every day of the year for local homeless and low-income people — and one week a year, participants from The City’s Fancy Food Show donate gourmet ingredients to the kitchen.

"Our eyes are closed with our hands are out. One thing is for sure, though — whatever we get we will be using it all. Last year, we got a whole bunch of Brie and made a macaroni and cheese out of it that was amazing," said St. Anthony chef Ian Watson, who was trained in Ireland and has cooked for The City’s Lulu and Oakland’s Oliveto.

The restaurant industry-geared show, which ran Sunday through Tuesday, brought 8,000 products and 1,100 exhibitors from 37 countries to the Moscone Center. For the last four years, vendors have donated leftover delights, such as mortadella, scallops, creams and smoked salmon to St. Anthony, leaving Watson to ponder the next gastronomic move.

St. Anthony dining hall manager Michael Kearney said donations, such as the ones made after the Fancy Food Show, are a treat for patrons and chefs alike. "For us, most of these items are cost-prohibitive, because our meals normally cost an average of 35 cents a plate. It’s great to be able to put 4 ounces of cheese on a plate knowing it normally costs $15 to $20 a pound," Kearney said.

Kearney said the kitchen’s ingredients are usually either donations or come from the food bank.

Mary Keehn, founder of Cypress Grove Chevre in Arcadia, donates Fancy Food Show leftovers to

St. Anthony every year. This year she donated more than 30 pounds of different goat cheeses to the kitchen.

"Giving back is a treat in life. It’s not a time to be judgmental — I was a single mom once with four kids, and I know what its like to struggle. If you’re in a position to do it, then why wouldn’t you? People in need can really benefit, and St. Anthony’s does a great job," Keehn said.

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