Bestselling Cookbook Author Hosting Dinner at EAT Café Fundraiser

Julia Turshen standing in a kitchen in front of a cutting board where she is slicing onions.
Julia Turshen, author of the cookbook "Now & Then," will be coming to the EAT Cafe Sept. 11. Photo courtesy of Turshen.

Bestselling author of “Feed the Resistance” and outspoken critic of food waste Julia Turshen is bringing her message to the EAT Café for a one-time fundraiser.

Dinner guests on Sept. 11 at the EAT Café, will be served a four-course meal straight from Turshen’s newest cookbook, “Now & Again.”

Since both Turshen and the people behind the Café — Philadelphia’s first-pay-what-you-can restaurant — have similar thoughts on the possibilities of food, there is likely not a better fit for her stop in the city.

"EAT Café and I are on the same page about food being an essential ingredient for building community,” Turshen said. “I am so excited to visit them on my ‘Now & Again’ book tour and support their mission."

In that spirit, some of the tickets available to the event allow for diners at the exclusive event to pay forward several meals to members of the community who sometimes rely on EAT for a meal.

“Julia has referenced food as community and as a way to foster change. She believes — and I definitely hope — that the people who follow and support her will support us and our mission, too,” said Valerie Erwin, general manager and chef of the EAT Café. “This is a way to support EAT and have a great time with wonderful food and company.”

Erwin is a member of the board of the Southern Foodways Alliance, which “documents and explores” the changes in food cultures in the American South. It was at a symposium for that where Erwin met Turshun and quickly realized the author not only shared her thoughts on the impact food can have, but also had a similar cooking style.

“Julia’s cooking is both beautiful and unfussy,” Erwin said. “It is the best of what has been labeled — for lack of a better term — home cooking. I think of it as wonderful food that can be produced without fancy equipment or a kitchen staff. It’s a lot like the way I cook.”   

At the time of Turshun’s visit, the EAT Café will be roughly two months away from its second anniversary. A project launched out of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities of Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health, the Café has served thousands of meals, more than a third going to those who weren’t able to pay the full price.

“We are doing better than ever in our core mission of providing a high-quality dining experience to people who would not otherwise have access to it,” Erwin said. “It’s still very competitive, though, to reach the market-rate diner. That’s why we have these special events: to introduce more diners to EAT’s space and food — and to raise the money that allows us to continue in our community.”

Those interested in tickets for the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, can purchase them here. The EAT Café is located at 3820 Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia and is normally open Wednesday through Friday for dinner, and on Sunday for brunch.