BY Ama Nunoo, 11:30am March 31, 2020,

Detroit chefs forced to shutdown feed homeless from their restaurants

Photo: FirstService Social Purpose

The adverse effects of businesses shutting down due to the coronavirus have been felt by many employers and employees. Those who deal with perishable goods will be affected the most.

Some local chefs in Detroit who were forced to shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic have joined forces to cook for three homeless shelters with their perishables and donations from well-wishers.

Five Detroit chefs who some locals refer to as heroes have set up a program in the wake of their own businesses taking a punch from the shutdown called, “Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen for Good”, CNN reports.  

These chefs are collecting food that would have otherwise gone bad after local bars and restaurants were forced to close till at least April 13. They are using these foodstuff to make nutritious meals for the homeless and other people in need.

A black family-owned restaurant, Coop Caribbean Fusion is at the forefront of this initiative and did groundwork for its commencement.

“I think the week before we closed, the business was down 30 percent,” chef Maxcel Hardy told CNN. “To already have that valley, then a shutdown, it’s really tough to bounce back from that.”

Hardy realizes that even though his business is suffering, his employees also feel the impact and look up to him. He decided to share food to his employees even before his collaboration with the other chefs began.

He said his employees “were out of a job and didn’t have anything but the last paycheck” and even after the food was given to his employees there was a lot left and so he knew he had to start “Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen for Good.”

He then reached out to four other restauranteurs to create this amazing program. According to CNN, with Caribbean Fusion being at the forefront of this, there is a bit of Thai fusion from chef Genevieve Vang at Bangkok 96 Street Food.

Then there are Ron Bartell at Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles, Stephanie Byrd of Flood’s Bar and Grille and The Block and Phil Jones from the Detroit catering collective all bring in different flavors to the meals served. Not forgetting Ma Haru who is constantly by the phones and keeps the supply of food coming.

According to Hardy, “donations of all sorts of other products” gave him the liberty to get extra creative with cooking his meals. The initiative also gets support from non-profit organisations and local culinary students.

Detroit’s homeless shelters are very appreciative of this program and Chad Audie, president of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, one of the shelters that benefit from the program, called it a “godsend.”

“The healthy meals are boosting the morale of the population, as well as lifting a financial burden from the mission,” Audie said.

“We always said we are one paycheck away from being homeless ourselves. But today, it’s becoming a reality, and we need to help the most vulnerable population in our communities.”

Every contribution by all the five chefs, their volunteers and those that run the shelter all go a long way to bring smiles on faces of vulnerable people who need a place to put their heads.

It’s nice to know that there are people who are pulling through the adverse effects of the virus and still putting smiles on people’s faces.  

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: March 31, 2020


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