Ming Tsai and Ken Oringer, the organizers behind the upcoming Boston Bites Back at Fenway Park on Wednesday, will always remember where they were around 2:40 p.m. on April 15, 2013. Tsai, a Food Network show host and owner of Wellesley’s Blue Ginger, had just left his new Fort Point restaurant, Blue Dragon. He was on the Pike when the news of an explosion came on the radio. Immediately, he headed back to Fort Point.
“I had staff there, I wanted to make sure everyone was OK,” Tsai says. “I was pissed. I still am pissed. It makes me so mad that these pathetic crazies try to ruin something good.”
For Oringer, whose restaurants include Clio and Toro, the event hit closer to home — literally. He and his family were watching the marathon in Kenmore Square before heading to the finish line. But his 4-year-old son needed a nap and they went home instead. Home is near the Prudential Center. His son and wife had just headed home when Oringer heard the crashing booms.
“I thought it was an earthquake at first,” he recalls. “Then I heard everything outside, the sirens. It was scary.”
Around 10 p.m. that night, angry and sad, the longtime friends spoke on the phone.
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“We knew we had to do something that showed Boston’s resilience and strength,” says Tsai. “Food, breaking bread, it brings people together, it helps to heal.”
“We thought about what we could do and knew it had to be nothing inconsequential,” says Oringer. “It had to be really huge. Boston is a small city with a big community. Everyone is one degree of separation from someone touched by this. Everyone feels the pain. This is about unity and moving forward.”
Boston Bites Back, which benefits the One Fund, includes 100 Boston chefs cooking and serving at Fenway Park. “We needed a big venue, we needed somewhere that said Boston, and we needed it to be open to the stars,” says Oringer. “We worked it out, the price is $2 a chef. I know I’m worth two bucks,” Tsai half-jokes.
If you go
Boston Bites Back
Wednesday, 6-10 p.m.
4 Yawkey Way, Boston
$200, VIP $1,000