Home Away from Home 2018

Great food, better people, and that warm fuzzy feeling you get from doing something that helps others who need it most.

That’s what’s in store for the 1,000+ people who will attend Yelp’s Home Away From Home (HAFH) – benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Nevada on Wednesday, June 27, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. (RSVP for the event)

Thanks to the kind people at Yelp Reno behind this event, this Reno Dad was treated to a sneak preview of the full festivities courtesy of Chef Jay Rathmann of BJ’s Nevada Barbecue, one of the nine participating caterers at this year’s HAFH event.

Here’s three simple reasons to attend this year’s event:

1. The Food

The morning started as many of ours do – with homemade corn beef hash, a perfectly poached egg Benedict on a fluffy homemade biscuit, with a side of thick cut bacon and cheddar grits, and finished with the most decadent cinnamon roll I’ve ever tasted.

Photo courtesy of Yelp Reno
Photo courtesy of Yelp Reno

With the incredible spread before us, I wasn’t sure how anyone found the ability to talk, but the conversation quickly turned, of course, to food.

“We just loaded 400lbs of meat this morning for a single catering event,” Chef Jay says as casually as noticing that it’s Tuesday.

Had it not been pre-occupied on the aforementioned Benedict biscuit, my jaw would have dropped as he continued discussing the scale of the restaurant and catering operation.

“We’ll serve 125,000 meals this year alone, with about 75,000 of those at the restaurant.”

In an area like ours with a population of 245,000 people, that’s a lot of meat to move. For Chef Jay and the BJ’s crew, preparation and organization is the key to staying on top of high volume of production.

As we took a quick trip through the BJ’s kitchen, Chef Jay points out that every place along the 10’ spice rack is labeled with its intended contents. Once the creamy apple vinegar dressing we made as a group finished in the blender, it instantly was tagged with a label to denote its contents and date of birth.

We learned that everything that’s made in house – which is pretty much, well, everything – is prepared in planned and known quantities. Rather than having to measure out the onions needed for our baked beans, for example, Chef Jay simply grabbed a ready-to-go bag with exactly the right amount to add into the mix.

“There are four people on staff who’s entire job is continually make sure we have things measured out, prepped, and ready to go,” Jay said.

This attention detail and dedication to preparation is what allows BJ’s to achieve the scale of production, delivering a consistently delicious product to patrons for the better part of the last three decades.

And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Or in our case, in the tender, juicy burnt ends, baked beans, and cornbread muffins with jalapeño honey butter.

Photo courtesy of Yelp Reno

Did I mention that BJ’s is one of nine additional featured caterers that will be preparing some of their favorite dishes? The deliciousness I was fortunate enough to sample is only 11% of the goodness that’s waiting for you on Wednesday.

After finishing our tour of the kitchen and lesson on how to make perfect poached eggs every time – spoiler alert: drop the eggs into a sous vide at about 150 degrees – we selected our menu for the afternoon and headed to the venue.

Which brings me to reason two to attend…

2. The Venue

Should you make the correct decision to attend, you’ll be sampling the aforementioned bounty of tastiness at the fully furnished and styled model homes at the Regency by Toll Brothers.

The planned 55+ community does not disappoint on creating a fun, beautiful environment to connect with some our area’s top catering professionals.

Photo courtesy of Yelp Reno.

From luxurious outside pool areas, to envy-inducing kitchen spreads, if nothing else you’ll be able to satisfy your inner HGTV and Fixer Upper binge-watcher. And if you’ve been thinking about doing some redecorating in your own home, this might be the perfect place to get some inspiration.

These homes are also a perfect reminder for the third, and most powerful reason to attend.

The Cause

Though the event is free, there is a $20 recommended donation for all attendees. All the proceeds from this event go directly to benefitting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northern Nevada.

If you don’t know, Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Nevada keeps families close when it matters most: during their child’s illness, accident, or premature birth. Their donors and volunteers provide the gift of togetherness, offering a home-away-from-home for families who need to be together during challenging times.

Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Charities

When else do you get the opportunity to eat incredible food, have the chance to win a shopping spree, get some home improvement tips, enjoy great music and adult beverages AND help people in our community in need?

Make sure you RSVP and clear your calendar for Wednesday, June 27th.

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