One of the most threatened industries from the stay-in-place requirements will be the restaurant business. Every eatery, from the oldest locally-owned café to the largest national franchises, is financially at risk. These local businesses’ futures are in doubt; more importantly millions of full and part time workers may be laid off-indefinitely.
Almost ten years ago, Chef Jose Andres and his wife Patricia started the World Central Kitchen. They envisioned a non-profit organization that would create innovative approaches to combating hunger and poverty. Initially this was through providing clean cook stoves and culinary training programs along with social enterprise ventures that empowered local communities and economies. The focus was on country’s suffering from natural disasters or chronic hunger in the population.
Now this decade long world-wide charitable effort is focusing on the US: “We have shown that there is no place too far or disaster too great for our chefs to be there with a hot plate of food when it’s needed most.”
A week ago Chef Andres announced the closing of all his DC area restaurants. He explains why in this 4 minute video. He is paying all his staff for the next two weeks and converting several restaurants to Community Kitchens. Below is the conversion of his Bethesda restaurant’s location. While undoubtedly concerned about the future of his own enterprise, Chef Andres is putting community outreach as his first priority.
- Chef Andres’ Bethesda location
- The conversion to a Community Kitchen
- Get in Line
- Stand here signs in walk to pick up food:
- Serving those most in need