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May 31, 2012

Urbana Executive Chef Adds Charity to the Menu

John Critchley, the Executive Chef of Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar, has done it all. He kicked off his 19-year culinary career washing dishes in high school and has since helped to open and lead several high-profile restaurants in Boston, San Francisco and Miami. In 2008 he took over the helm at Urbana where he combines Western Mediterranean influences emphasizing sustainable seafood with creative but simple techniques.

John’s passion for feeding people also gives him a deep respect for giving back to the community.

This year, we are proud to have him serve as Celebrity Chef Chair for the 22nd Annual Chef’s Best Dinner & Auction presented by the NACDS Foundation. As Chair, John is raising awareness for Food & Friends’ services and has helped to recruit more than 50 area chefs who will share tastings at Chef’s Best to showcase their culinary expertise.

“As a chef, it is refreshing to see many of my colleagues join together for this cause. I feel honored to be a part of raising funds for men, women and children who are facing severe illnesses . . . [and] I am in the business to feed people so I want to give back to a community that has supported me . . .”

For John, the decision to work with a cause addressing hunger relief and illness is a natural one.

“I have been lucky personally to never have anybody suffer from HIV or cancer but it makes you feel good when you are able to support the community by using your skills,” says John.

John is very excited for this year’s event but admits that only one night of support is not going to solve the issue of nutrition and illness in the community.

“Look at all the effort, support and enthusiasm that goes into this one night, imagine if all of us continued this support throughout year – we’d make an even bigger impact on people living with life-challenging illnesses.”

Mingle with John and 55 of his closest culinary friends on June 26th at Chef's Best Dinner & Auction. Purchase sponsorships, tables and tickets at

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