OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Whatever you are, be a good one.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
He replied: You give them something to eat.
-Jesus of Nazareth
Bracken’s Kitchen is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Orange County California. Founded in 2013 our mission is simple: Through food recovery, culinary training and our community feeding program we are committed to rescuing, re-purposing and restoring both food and lives.
The heart of who we are can be found in a statement first uttered in 1957 by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr; “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
At the core of our mission is a deep commitment to our nonprofit charity partners, business and professional supporters, volunteers, donors and employees. Our relationship with each and every one of these groups is as important to us as those we feed.
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. In 2005 he joined the Irvine Company at their newly rebranded property, The Island Hotel.
In 2008-2010 our country went through a huge financial crisis with the melt down of the housing market, mostly fueled by California. It was then that Bill saw many of his friends lose their job and truly struggle.
People that otherwise looked ok financially quickly found themselves without work at a time when there were no jobs to be found. Struggling to pay their rent and mortgage to stay in their homes, food as usual, was the first thing to get cut. Watching them struggle, especially with one of life’s most basic of needs had an impact on Bill. It was then that he first felt called to feed people.
Fast forward to December 2011 and Bill found himself unexpectedly thrust into the lines of the unemployed. With 3 children, 2 still at home and a wife who didn’t work Bill experienced first-hand the very thing his friends faced just a couple years ago. It was then that he set out to find a way to leverage his talent and skills to feed his friends and neighbors in need. While he didn’t know what it was going to look like he did know that he needed to feed people in need the same way he has been feeding people for the past 25 years. And that was simple, cook a tasty and nutritious meal from scratch with love and passion and share it with those who need it most.
It took some time, but he eventually landed on the concept of using a food truck to bring food to his friends and neighbors in need. After all, why make a struggling family travel across the city or county for help when he could bring it directly to them.
And with that Bracken’s Kitchen was born in March of 2013. While much has changed over the years, one thing has not. Bracken’s Kitchen is committed to cooking and sharing the tastiest and most nutritious meals as possible for their friends and neighbors in need.
The rescued food program has been a tremendous help in making that happen. With 40% of America’s food supply headed to a landfill near you, the team at Bracken’s Kitchen has built a strong strategic partnership with a variety of food companies that ensure a consistent supply of product looking for a home instead of landing in the waste container.
At Bracken’s Kitchen we believe strongly in the power of food and its impact on a person’s life. Before we can heal our sick, educated our children, house the homeless or offer hope to the afflicted we must be able to feed them.
That simple fact gives food enormous power in a persons life. Whether you are a person with enormous wealth and means or a person who doesn’t know where there next meal will come from, food is central to everyone’s life. In fact there is not better way to get to know a person than sitting down and breaking bread with them. Food just breaks down all the barriers.
Feeding people isn’t the same as nourishing them and at Bracken’s Kitchen we strive to nourish more than just the body but a persons very spirit.
We hope you’ll take the time to read more about our work through our Trio of Services and we look forward to connecting with you in a meaningful way.
The Bracken’s Kitchen Team
“ALONE WE CAN DO SO LITTLE, TOGETHER WE CAN DO SO MUCH”
We are empowered by the incredible people that have come along side us. Check out our wonderful Team, Volunteer Leaders, Board of Directors, and our Culinary Task Team.