The Fifth Roots for Reece Chef’s Picnic Takes Place June 11

Roots for Reece picnic returns June 11 at Haven Farm—with every ticket purchase donated to the NCHRC.

Photos courtesy of Roots for Reece

Six years ago, local chef Blake Gotliffe (of JoCo’s Under the Oak Catering) lost his best friend Reece Byrd to a heroin overdose. It wasn’t the only friend he lost to this disease, and Gotliffe personally struggled with opiate addiction for many years—though he’s been clean for over 10 years now. After Byrd passed away, Gotliffe wanted to do something about it, and, so, he started the Roots for Reece Chef’s Picnic.

This year, Roots for Reece is in its fifth installment—taking place Sunday, June 11, at Haven Farm—with 17 local chefs and purveyors, six beverage vendors, live music from Lake Chamberlain, kids’ crafts, a petting zoo and a silent auction (including an all-inclusive table for four at Scott Crawford’s highly anticipated Brodeto‘s soft opening later this year and bread for a year from Union Special). Local participating chefs include Savannah Miller of Glasshouse Kitchen, Jake Wood of Lawrence Barbecue and Leroy’s Tacos n Beer, Kevin Ruiz of Oro, and Alex Ricci of Cucciolo Terrazza.

Roots for Reece 2022

That first year, Gotliffe also hosted a few dinners at his farm with local chefs like Eric Montagne of Locals Seafood and Sean Fowler of Mandolin to raise additional funds. “We raised almost $6K that year,” says Gotliffe. One-hundred percent of proceeds were donated to the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that focuses on the distribution of free Narcan (paid for by fundraisers and donations like Roots for Reece), as well as education on how to administer it. 

In 2019, Gotliffe says they had so many local chefs interested that he decided to make Roots for Reece into a food festival-style picnic event. That year, 15 chefs, four breweries, a live band and guest speakers came together to form the first Roots for Reece Chef’s Picnic—and raised almost $10K.

“I feel it is my duty as a survivor to do whatever I can to help others and prevent further losses to this horrible disease,” says Gotliffe.

Adds Craften chef Kyle Teears, who will be participating in this year’s event: “Roots for Reece is an important cause to me because opioid addiction is very common in the restaurant industry. I have seen it claim the lives of friends, family members, and co-workers. It will be an honor to help chef Blake Gotliffe with this cause.” The cherry on top? Just one ticket can potentially save four lives. It’s a win-win. Purchase tickets here.

Roots for Reece 2022

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.