The RVA French Food Festival began in 2009, as a fundraiser for the Little Sisters of the Poor, a local non-profit serving Virginia’s elderly poor. The idea for the festival was sparked during a conversation between dedicated volunteers and donors Michael Siewers and Stokes McCune, Development Director Christy Heinen, and Sister Josephine at a Christmas party. It was noted that Richmond was quickly establishing itself as a ‘foodie’ town, with a vibrant restaurant scene and numerous food festivals as well. The Little Sisters of the Poor has its roots in France, and the group remarked on the absence of French cuisine on the Richmond Festival scene. As fate would have it, longtime friend of the home and classically trained Master Chef Paul Elbling had recently retired from running his restaurant La Petite France, and generously agreed to headline the festival with some of his very own dishes. And so the RVA French Food Festival has grown, highlighting the French culture, food, music, and wine, all for a wonderful cause. From a Parisian marketplace featuring local vendors, to entertainment from fantastic musicians and even local favorite Jonathan the Juggler, to a dish of Chef Sean’s Gumbo Ya Ya, it is a festival you DON’T want to miss. In 2015, the festival added 6 fantastic new local chefs to the line-up, and after the success of a Friday night preview event in 2016, we added Friday night to the event schedule permanently! In 2020, after the Little Sisters announced their plans to withdraw from their Home in Richmond, Commonwealth Catholic Charities joined the team to continue the festival’s tradition in Richmond.