Chefs and Restaurants

The LEE Initiative Expands to Support Restaurant Workers in 19 Community Kitchens Across the Country

Editor's Note: Plate is making coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find more articles here.

The LEE Initiative, a nonprofit organization founded by Chef Edward Lee and Lindsey Ofcacek has expanded its Restaurant Workers Relief Program to 19 cities across the country. 

The program, created in partnership with Maker's Mark, works with chefs and restaurant owners to provide resources for them to set up community kitchens and pantries serving out-of-work restaurant workers. Everyone who shows up for food at must show proper ID and paperwork (like a paystub) to prove recent employment at a restaurant. A social distancing system will be in place to welcome guests in and out the door. 

 

"That first day, we had an overwhelming response," Lee told Plate when the program launched. "We had families feeding their kids. There were grown men crying. Everyone realized that this is real. The actual time until you get your unemployment check in the mail could be six days, it could be three weeks. In the meantime, people are simply running out of money. Some have families, disabled children, and these people are quickly turning desperate.”

Here is a list of locations hosting community kitchens; check the links for service hours and other information.

Atlanta

Chef Linton Hopkins and Gina Hopkins at Eugene​ and Elizabeth's

Boston

Chef Ming Tsai at Blue Dragon

Brooklyn

Chef Greg Braxtrom at Olmsted 

Chicago

Chefs Chris Teixeira, Nate Henssler, Martin Arellano and Christo Vlahos at West Town Bakery & Diner

Cincinnati

Chef Jose Salazar at Mita’s

Denver

Chef Alon Shaya at Safta

Detroit

Chef Kate Williams at Lady of the House

Houston

Chef Ryan Lachaine at Riel

Lexington, Ky.

Chef Samantha Fore of Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites at Great Bagel Bakery

Los Angeles

Chef Jessica Koslow at Sqirl 

Louisville

Chefs Edward Lee and Kevin Ashworth at 610 Magnolia

Nashville

Chef Sarah Gavigan at Otaku To-Go

New Albany, Ind.

Chef Joe Phillips at Pints & Union

New Orleans

Chef Donald Link at Cochon

Oakland, Calif.

Chefs Nelson German and Daniel Patterson at alaMar

Raleigh

at Hummingbird

Seattle

Chef Edouardo Jordan at Salare

Tampa

Chef Suzanne Crouch at Cass Street Deli

Washington, D.C.

Chef Edward Lee at Succotash