in partnership
Chef Wilson essentially turned a bunch of canned and fresh beans and vegetables into a healthy, wholesome meal. (Image: Britt Thorson / Seattle Refined)

Chef Jason Wilson takes the 67 Cent Challenge

Chef John Howie did it for 52 cents.

Chef Jason Brzozowy did it for 21 cents.

Nowcan James Beard winner Chef Jason Wilson, of CRUSH and Miller's Guild fame, successfully take the 67 Cent Challenge?

Yes folks. Yes he can. For those of you new to the challenge, we've been teaming up with our friend over at Northwest Harvest and their network of food banks to challenge local chefs to make a meal for 67 cents or under. With the buying power and donations, this is the amount NW Harvest claims they can feed a family of three for.

We're hoping to not only raise awareness of the importance of donations to food banks in our area; but also dispel the notion that food bands are only filled with unhealthy and/or canned foods.

In the previous challenges chefs have used bruised or blemished (but still fresh) fruits, vegetables and even donated meats and proteins. Chef Wilson had it a little harder as he visited Cherry Street food bank on a Friday afternoon, when most of the fresh donations had been picked through. No salmon patties. No immediately obvious protein sources.

"I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do," he said, looking around the food bank. But he shook it off and got right into it! His eyes lit up when he got to the canned beans section - all donated and therefore free for the purposes of this challenge, and grabbed black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, chunky tomato bisque, great Northern beans, sweet peas and whole kernel corn.

"I think I'm going to do kind of a Middle Eastern dish," said Wilson, grabbing a box of couscous (also donated) for bulk.

Add to that shopping list two-thirds pounds of carrots (11 cents per pound), one medium onion, three apples (3 cents per pound), mushrooms (donated, so free), and celery (6 cents a pound). After all the tallying up, Jesse Swingle - our Northwest Harvest friend - came to the grand total of 31 cents.

Not too shabby, huh? Chef Wilson took us back to his Madison Valley kitchen at CRUSH (where he cooked when he won James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Northwest title in 2010) where we watched him essentially turn a bunch of canned and fresh beans and vegetables into a healthy, wholesome meal. Check it out in the gallery, and try to make it yourself - below!


  • 1 can black beans

  • 1 can pinto beans

  • 1 can Chunky Tomato Bisque

  • 1 can garbanzo beans

  • 1 can Great Northern White beans

  • 2/3 pounds of carrots

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 can sweet peas

  • 1 can whole kernel corn

  • 3 medium apples

  • 2 cups mushrooms

  • 1 box couscous

  • 4 stalks of celery

Strain all the canned beans, carrots, peas and tomatoes - saving their juices and using two cups (instead of water), as the liquid to make the couscous with. Follow instructions on box to finish making couscous, chop up apples and combine. Chop and sauté onions with olive oil, and salt/pepper to taste and combine with couscous. Finely dice celery and do the same. Soften mushrooms with olive oil over stovetop, and add to couscous/apple/onion/celery mixture. Finally, add in drained beans, tomatoes peas and corn. Boil down for five minutes over medium heat, stir-fry carrots in separate dish with curry powder.

Serve warm!