Juanita MORE! Whets Our Appetite

Every year, San Francisco’s celebrated drag icon Juanita MORE! packs food, fun and festivities into a night at one of her favorite restaurants—all for charity. Since 2007, Juanita has raised thousands of dollars as an ambassador for Dining Out for Life in support of the free programs and services of San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

“I’ve been a part of San Francisco for all of my life. I was born and raised in the East Bay, and moved to the Castro in 1983. Living in the Castro in the eighties, then moving downtown after that—I’ve been a part of everything that has happened, that we created, and that we’ve fought for since the beginning,” said Juanita.

The fact that a cause close to her heart—healing the hurt and harm caused by HIV and AIDS—can be helped through food is win-win for Juanita. She’s an experienced and seasoned cook, lover of seasonal California cuisine, and has a passion for food that extends outside the kitchen to a blog where she chronicles her culinary adventures.

“I love to make people happy,” she said. “I’m a great hostess, and I love to join people in eating well in celebration—which is one reason I love Dining Out for Life.” 

As an ambassador, Juanita goes above and beyond to work with the chef in advance to plan a menu with her recipes, then hosts hundreds of friends and loved ones at a favorite restaurant. The restaurant donates 25% of its proceeds from the night to San Francisco AIDS Foundation, many diners opt to make an additional charitable donation to support the cause, and everyone enjoys a tasty meal and happy dining experience.

This year, she’s working with Chef Cory Armenta at Hecho to create a special menu for Dining Out for Life, which will be held on April 26.

“Chef Cory and I have been working together for a long time. I’ve worked with him to create some special dinners. Recently we did a tamale night where they cooked my family’s recipes for tamales. We also put together a Valentine’s Day dinner last year. So I’m excited to see what we can come up with this year.”

For anyone considering being an ambassador for the first time, Juanita says, “Think of it as a fun thing to do. You get to partner with a restaurant you love—and you get to invite all of your friends to join you. You’ll enjoy good food, and you’ll do good for San Francisco AIDS Foundation at the same time.”

This year, Dining Out for Life will be on April 26, 2016. Get more information and sign up to be an ambassador at www.dolsf.org.

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