Detroit chefs team up to donate food to vulnerable communities during coronavirus outbreak

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click to enlarge Chef Genevive Vang at Detroit Shipping Company’s Bangkok 96 Street Food. - Jerilyn Jordan
Jerilyn Jordan
Chef Genevive Vang at Detroit Shipping Company’s Bangkok 96 Street Food.

Detroit chefs and restaurateurs are coming together to give perishable food items and meals to local homeless shelters amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

They include Chef Maxcel Hardy of Coop Caribbean Fusion, Ron Bartell of Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles, Stephanie Byrd of The Block and Flood’s Bar, James Beard Award-nominated chef Genevieve Vang of Bangkok 96 Street Food, and community executive chef Phil Jones of Ma Haru.

They will prepare meals and perishable items to be donated to the Coalition of Temporary Shelter (COTS) and Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) Tumaini Center in Midtown Detroit.

Hardy has donated the kitchen at the Horatio Williams Foundation for meal preparations, where Hardy, Vang, and Jones are creating a menu from the perishable items.

Bartell is donating perishable foods while also donating boxed lunches at his newly-renovated restaurant, which re-opened last week. The boxes include the Jive Turkey sliders, fries, and a salad for residents at COTS.

The collection of chefs and restaurateurs call themselves "Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen for Good."

But David Rudolph, senior managing partner at D. Ericson & Associates Public Relations, says there’s no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen.

“These are extraordinary times as the world deals with COVID-19 coronavirus,” Rudolph says. “By shutting down businesses, dine-in serve at restaurants, limiting numbers of people in one space, and of course practicing social distancing — all in an effort to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“They are some of the most thoughtful, kind-hearted and dynamic collection of chefs and restaurateur clients who want to do their part by making a difference to help the homeless population and food insecure in Detroit.”

As soon as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made the decision to close dine-in services, Rudolph says he received calls from clients stating they had perishable food that could not be saved long-term. They thought it would be a good idea to put the food to good use by donating it.

Vang says she is proud to be working with everyone there.

“We have a part of our community who is in need, and I’m just happy to do what I can to make a difference,” she says. “We are not sure what the menu of foods will be, but you can be sure it will taste good because it’s prepared with love and from the soul of our hearts.”

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