Dwyane Wade, Sophia Bush Cook Up Restaurant Lobbying Fundraiser

Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio, actress Sophia Bush and former basketball star Dwyane Wade will share their favorite taco recipes on Instagram Live on Tuesday night — all in the name of lobbying.

The Cinco de Mayo “Tacothon” will fund the advocacy efforts of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, a group formed by Colicchio and other well-known chefs and restaurant owners to fight for relief for eateries hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic.

For every viewer who tunes in, Cholula Food Co., known for its eponymous hot sauce brand, will donate $1 that will support the group’s lobbying campaign. It will give a minimum contribution of $50,000 and maximum of $100,000.

Photo by Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg
Retired basketball star Dwyane Wade

Last week, the coalition wrote a letter to Congress requesting a $120 billion “stabilization fund” for a half-million independent restaurants around the country, many of which are at risk of extinction.

The event will stream over the personal Instagram accounts of Bush, Wade and NBA player Victor Oladipo. It marks a new frontier in lobbying during the pandemic by combining grassroots advocacy and corporate sponsorship.

“Creative collaborations like this will help a larger audience of people understand what’s at stake and hopefully encourage them to tell Congress to act,” Colicchio said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Independent Restaurant Coalition said it has Confluence Government Relations on retainer. It previously had K Street firm Thorn Run Partners on retainer for about a month and paid it $40,000, according to disclosures. Forms show the relationship ended on April 20.

The Instagram Live event runs in one-hour segments from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time.

● 7 p.m.: Oladipo, of the Indiana Pacers, collaborates with Milk Bar owner Christina Tosi
● 8 p.m.: Bush is co-hosting with Colicchio
● 9p.m.: Wade, a former Miami Heat shooting guard, is cooking with chef Aarón Sánchez

To contact the reporter on this story: Megan R. Wilson in Washington at mwilson@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kyle Trygstad at ktrygstad@bgov.com; Bennett Roth at broth@bgov.com