The Chefs Giving Back During The Health Crisis

Lauren Hill

Senior Contributor

Whether they’re raising funds, providing meals for hospital workers or bringing good food into people’s lives through never-seen-before masterclasses, these are the prominent chefs striving to make a difference with their culinary skills.

A Chef’s Voyage by David Kinch

April 3rd saw the release of the documentary A Chef’s Voyage by three-Michelin-starred chef David Kinch and the rest of the team at his acclaimed farm-to-table Los Gatos restaurant Manresa. As well as marking the restaurant’s 15th year, this new feature film raises funds for US culinary workers affected by the pandemic, with 100-percent of the proceeds from its rental going to the Lee Initiative’s Restaurant Workers Relief Program. The documentary examines the nature of teamwork at the restaurant on the journey the staff underwent to collaborate with culinary luminaries across France. A Chef’s Voyage is available on SOMM TV for a limited 30-day period. 

Keep Cooking and Carry On with Jamie Oliver

Just as the UK went into lockdown, one of the nation’s favourite chefs, Jamie Oliver, launched his latest TV series, Keep Cooking and Carry On. The new Channel 4 show goes out each weekday at 5:30pm with all easy-to-follow and flexible recipes designed to be adapted to whatever food you happen to have at the time. Recipes from the show also make their way onto the Jamie Oliver website to be followed from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re watching each episode or trying something new with the ingredients you have at home, this is the serving of positivity we all need.

Takashi Kinoshita Delivers Meals to Locals Hospitals

The acclaimed chef Takashi Kinoshita prepares the multi-course fine dining menus of Château de Courban hotel in Burgundy. Now, with the hotel temporarily closed for the coronavirus crisis, the kitchen is instead putting out simpler three-course meals each Sunday for the doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff of the hospitals in Dijon and Troyes. These efforts reflect the chef’s own mentality of providing hearty food in a time of need. The chef strives to combine ingredients the kitchen already has in stock with ingredients donated by local producers who, out of solidarity, are more than happy to contribute.

Kitchen Quarantine with Massimo Bottura

To play his part in spreading positivity through food, the three-Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura of world-renowned restaurant Osteria Francesco in Modena is streaming a series of Kitchen Quarantine masterclasses. Each masterclass uses common household ingredients to make family-style dishes. Bottura is using this time in lockdown to share these live Instagram videos giving insight into the meals he and his family are cooking at home. Catch the live videos when they stream at 8pm each evening in Italy and watch them back on his IGTV channel. Past dishes have included pasta fagioli and ragu.

Support for Farmers with Jorge Vallejo

As Mexico City’s celebrated restaurant Quintonil temporarily closed to the public, the restaurant’s chef Jorge Vallejo set about showing his support to local farmers. Through his new initiative, Mete Canasta, the chef is delivering baskets of fresh produce from farmers to homes throughout Mexico City. He’s then providing online cooking classes giving people instruction on how to use those particular ingredients. Quintonil’s kitchen team devise the recipes for this positive way of connecting people with the local farms.

Daniel Humm Cooks for Frontline Workers

The Michelin-starred chef behind New York’s lauded restaurant Eleven Madison Park hasn’t stopped striving to make a difference since the restaurant temporarily closed. After auctioning off a $50,000 dinner to support its staff during the shutdown, Humm began his efforts in producing thousands of meals a day for people in need. In partnership with the New York based non-profit Rethink Food and American Express, the kitchen team at Eleven Madison Park is now cooking up over 2,000 meals a day for healthcare workers in the hospitals as well as underprivileged New Yorkers. 

Donations from Alain Ducasse’s New Ebook

Out of a desire to support the people working hard to get us all through this period, the legendary chef Alain Ducasse has released a solidarity ebook sale to raise funds for the researchers and caregivers who are fighting against COVID-19. Digital books included in this sale until the end of the lockdown period include 190 Courses Illustrated by Alain Ducasse and Nature Volume Two. You can find out more on the post announcing this effort over on the Alain Ducasse Instagram account.

Rasmus Munk Helps Feed the Homeless

Two-Michelin-starred Copenhagen restaurant The Alchemist is known for its 45-course gastronomic experience. Now the chef behind this acclaimed dining spot, Rasmus Munk, and his team are putting their efforts into cooking meals for the city’s homeless people. These efforts stem from his charity JunkFood, which was set up previously but taken to greater lengths once the restaurant was made to close. Instead of the usual molecular gastronomy, the chef and his team cook up large batches of homely meals for the people who really need them. From here, he hopes to expand these efforts to other cities like Aarhus and Aalborg.

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