Although the Covid-19 pandemic has forced restaurants and businesses all over the world to close to contain the spread of the virus, chefs and restaurateurs are applying their creativity to create scores of initiatives to support those most affected as well as raise funds for their own employees and other industry workers. 50 Best’s network of Academy Chairs, who lead our 1,040-strong gender-balanced voting Academy, are sending messages of encouragement to the restaurant industry while highlighting worthy enterprises in their region.
The initiatives in this article are listed based on geographical location, starting from the American continent and travelling East through Africa, Europe and Asia. The article will continue to be updated to cover more areas of the world and new initiatives. Last update: 27/04/2020
West USA & West Canada
My beloved restaurant and bar industry, I am grieving with you as I realise how much we have lost personally and corporately, the world over. There are no easy words of comfort, just as we do not know how long this ordeal will last. But I am with you: petitioning the government, sharing resources for aid with the industry and writing numerous articles on takeout/delivery, restaurant/bar aid and ways everyone can help and support at this time. Though I realise even more of our publications could fold going forward, I am here to promote and support your return and renewal in the months to come. I anticipate a long season of rebuilding — and I hope in many ways, reimagining and rebirthing — ahead for our industry. I stand with you.
1. US-wide campaigns and funds to support restaurants
The following links may be helpful to restaurant and hospitality workers to inform themselves and apply for economic relief during the pandemic: saverestaurants.com by the Independent Restaurant Coalition; Craftable’s coronavirus emergency financial assistance and helpful information; BarMagic’s hospitality relief dashboard; the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation’s Covid-19 resources and information; and the One Fair Wage Emergency Fund.
2. Campaigns and resources for and by those living in San Francisco
Check diningatadistance.com for a list of open businesses in the Bay Area. Head to saveourfaves.org to buy gift cards to support local restaurants in your area. Edible San Francisco has a map and list with live updates on restaurants, cafés, farmers’ markets and other local businesses with information on take-out and delivery. A local industry leader has been compiling and updating a list of Go Fund Me pages and advice for restaurants and bars in the area.
3. Local initiatives by chefs and business owners
Chef Fico’s Family Meal has instituted a fund accepting donations – families in need can sign up to the fund to receive free meals. La Cocina, which helps fund, train and launch women and minority-owned food businesses, is offering community food boxes at all their restaurants/eateries. Chef Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb in San Francisco and Acacia House in Napa closed his restaurants, but is cooking for and feeding medical workers daily. SF roaster and café, Andytown, has provided over $20k worth of pastries and coffee to medical workers via donations. Numerous restaurants, including Georgian restaurant Bevri and Greek restaurant Taverna, are taking donations to feed medical workers.
4. Cooking for the needy and supporting producers by SingleThread
Chef and farmer couple Kyle and Katina Connaughton, who jointly run SingleThread restaurant and farm, have shifted their focus on feeding the elderly and struggling families that work in hospitality and agriculture. Partnering with Sonoma Family Meal and Corazon Healdsburg, they have been feeding over 200 meals a day for the needy through generous donations of wineries, regular guests of the restaurant, investors and the community. The Connaughtons are also offering meals for purchase for local families who can afford a to-go meal ($75 for a family of 4), along with a matching programme where someone can buy a meal for themselves and purchase donation meals for families in need. All info on the SingleThread website.
Kyle and Katina Connaughton
5. Family meals and donations by Atelier Crenn
Chef Dominique Crenn is selling Crenn Kits (family meals) online, along with wine baskets. 25% of each sale goes to the restaurant’s Emergency Relief Fund on GoFundMe to help its former employees. Kits can also be bought to be donated to hospital employees. Head to the restaurant’s website for more information.
Mid USA & Mid Canada
We all want our beloved restaurants, food shops, bakeries and bars to return to normal, paying their employees a living wage, feeding the community and allowing entrepreneurs to maintain their livelihoods, but with every passing day, predictions become bleaker. We are asking everyone to pressure their state and federal representatives to support the industry – not just with short-term loans, but actual financial relief in the form of waiving taxes, rent and mortgage payments. If nothing is done to help our industry, we will see far too many people struggle, and we will have lost an essential component of our cherished regional culture.
6. Feeding those in need by Chicago chefs
The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group has partnered with The LEE Initiative, chef Edward Lee and Maker’s Mark to transform West Town Bakery & Diner into Chicago’s Restaurant Workers Relief Center. The venue (located at 1916 W Chicago Ave) will serve 250 free meals and essentials to restaurant industry workers in need from 4pm to 6:30pm every day of the week. West Town Bakery & Diner is taking over the Restaurant Workers Relief Center previously run out of Big Star. Meals and grocery bags with essentials will be offered on a first come, first serve basis, and will be limited to one per person. Everyone must show proper ID and have some identifying paperwork to prove recent employment at a restaurant – a paystub will suffice in most cases.
The Fifty/50 sports bar (located at 2047 W Division St) in Wicker Park will continue to serve 400+ meals to anyone in need (not just restaurant industry workers) from 4pm to 6:30pm every day except Mondays. No ID or paperwork of any kind is required when picking up meals at The Fifty/50.
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7. Emergency relief boxes and school meals by Minneapolis chefs
Provisions is providing packed lunches at no cost, but are accepting donations. Second Harvest Heartland is compiling emergency relief boxes of food. Hope Breakfast Bar is feeding kids who are missing school meals and accepting donations.
8. Supporting local businesses in Toronto
Head to the NowToronto article for a round-up of ways you can support small businesses, restaurants and bars in the Canadian city.
East USA & East Canada
The U.S. restaurant industry has been hit particularly hard by the mandated closures. By some estimates, as many as 100,000 restaurants may not reopen and some 7 million restaurant workers will have been laid off. Closing all hospitality businesses has forced people to realise how important restaurants are – not just to a cultural elite, but to our local communities, to our local economies and to our daily lives. Restaurants really are part of the fabric of our culture, they enliven the streetscapes of our cities, they provide places to celebrate special occasions and to nourish our quotidian needs – from fancy restaurants with big-name chefs to small neighbourhood places, all are integral to our lives.
9. Lobbying Congress by the Independent Restaurant Coalition
The James Beard Foundation – of which I am chief strategy officer – was a founding partner of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which is lobbying Congress to ensure that the stimulus money and related programs pertain to and are tailored for independent restaurants. The IRC comprises a group of chefs from around the US, and is being lead largely by Will Guidara, Tom Colicchio, Naomi Pomeroy, Kwame Onuwachi, Andrew Zimmern, Sam Kass and others. They are representing chefs and restaurants from across the entire spectrum of the industry and have been very effective at getting senators and congress people to listen to our industry’s special needs. You can read more and join the coalition on the website.
10. Raising money for emergency grants by the James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation also created the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. Over $4 million have been raised, which are used to give emergency micro-grants of $15,000 to independent restaurants that complete an application, meet simple criteria, and have proof of business. The initiative is continuing to raise money for the fund from large corporations and individual donors. Make a donation on the website.
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11. Compiling helpful resources for chefs and restaurateurs
From industry support webinars to a chef advocacy toolkit, the James Beard Foundation has been creating and compiling a full suite of resources and programs to help restaurateurs, chefs and hospitality staff get through the lockdown. The info is compiled here. The daily webinars cover a wide range of pragmatic and practical topics, from how to apply for the stimulus package money to how to deal with mental health issues during this time.
12. #ChefsForAmerica by World Central Kitchen
José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen is helping engage restaurants across the country in a number of programs under their #ChefsForAmerica project. They are organising to have restaurants feed school children (with schools closed, many children face food insecurity), and also to feed healthcare workers on the frontline of the pandemic.
13. Cooking for New Yorkers in need by Eleven Madison Park
After having to close his world-renowned restaurant Eleven Madison Park, chef Daniel Humm partnered up with non-profit Rethink Food to reopen the kitchen and cook meals for New Yorkers in need during the pandemic. Humm highlighted that the kitchen team managed to produce 1844 meals and 700 soups in a day, feeding over 2,500 people. Anyone can support Rethink Food by making a donation here.
14. Supporting the local food industry by Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Blue Hill at Stone Barns chef Dan Barber has created ResourcED, an initiative offering to-go boxes filled with produce, meat and fish from its farming and fishing partners, in order to support them while the restaurant is closed. Donation boxes are also available for hospital workers and school children. More information is available on the restaurant’s website.
Mexico & Central America
Valentina Ortiz Monasterio
15. #MeteCanasta and "Comidas Solidarias" by Quintonil
To support his producers and suppliers in Mexico, chef Jorge Vallejo and the Quintonil team have organised the sale and delivery of a weekly box full of fresh and high-quality ingredients to consumers in Mexico City. The initiative is called #MeteCanasta and boxes are delivered on Fridays, while on Saturdays Chef Vallejo takes to Instagram Live to share his favourite recipes to make with ingredients in the box. Follow the restaurant on Instagram for the latest news. The Mexican chef is also supporting the project “Comidas Solidarias”, which buys ingredients from farming families in and around Mexico City and sends them to chefs in the capital to transform into meals, which in turn are sent to hospital patients and vulnerable families. Click here to donate to the project, which is coordinated by Iniciativa Agroecológica Xochimilco A.C, Gastromotiva México and the foundation Por un Hogar.
16. Bake-at-home cookies and deliveries by Rosetta
Chef Elena Reygadas is also the owner of Panadería Rosetta, the bakery that produces delicious goods for restaurant Rosetta and for the wider public. The chef set up a delivery service for her bakery’s cookie dough, so that people can buy the dough and make delicious cookies at home. Vegan dough is also available. See the Instagram page for updates on the service. At the flagship Rosetta, Reygadas adapted her menu for take out and delivery, with daily specials, wines and boxes of high-quality ingredients available to buy online. Check here for the most up-to-date menus.
17. Ingredient deliveries by Pujol
Another chef who is striving to support local producers during the pandemic is Enrique Olvera, creator of the world-renowned Pujol and Cosme restaurants. Grocery boxes, including fresh vegetables, eggs and even handmade tortillas, are available to order for delivery on Thursdays. Check the restaurant’s page for information. The chef is also raising funds to support Mexican immigrants in the US directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Click here to donate to the cause.
South America (North)
18. Supporting the needy by Lima chefs
The Plaza de Toros or Plaza de Acho in Lima has been closed to accommodate homeless people, so that they have a place to sleep and something to eat. There are chefs cooking at Casa Moreyra (the home of restaurant Astrid y Gastón) and the army is transporting the food to them. This is coordinated by the Ministry of Health and the Peruvian government. Chef Diego Muñoz runs the operation, while other chefs are also involved, such as Jorge Muñoz and Arlette Eulert.
19. Food baskets by local associations
There is a growing network of distribution of food baskets for vulnerable people from associations such as Fundación Pachacútec, Asociación de las Bienaventuranzas, and Asociación D.C. Semillero Canto Grande Responsabildad Social.
20. Cooking at home with famous Peruvian chefs
Many chefs are cooking on Instagram and handing out simple and basic recipes for people to learn how to cook and vary their diet. Visit the Instagram accounts of José del Castillo, Heine Herold and Jaime Pesaque for inspiration. They are simple and affordable recipes that can be made with the ingredients you have at home.
Isolina chef José del Castillo
21. Supporting local businesses in Lima
Head to the article on El Trinche for a round-up of ways you can support small businesses, restaurants and bars in the Peruvian capital.
22. Cooking for the needy by El Chato
After shuttering his restaurant El Chato in Bogotá, Colombia, chef Álvaro Clavijo has been cooking for a shelter of 65 people, including kids and the elderly, who can’t go out because of the quarantine. Head to FineDiningLovers to read more about the initiative.
South America (South)
Food and wine writer Daniel Greve analysed the situation and promoted chef-led initiatives in the southern region of Latin America in the article Sharing the table with coronavirus – stories, initiatives and dispatches from Latin American restaurants.
23. Vouchers to support struggling restaurants
Any restaurant in Brazil can sign up to the website Apoie um Restaurant (support a restaurant). When someone buys a R$100 (US$20) voucher to be redeemed later, they only pay half the amount, while the other R$50 is paid to the restaurant by a beer brand. Other websites promoting this model and providing different kinds of vouchers are Gentileza Gera Gentileza (kindness generates kindness) and the Menu do Amanhã (menu of tomorrow) initiative.
24. Lobbying the government by Janaina Rueda
A Casa do Porco co-owner Janaina Rueda has been mobilising the country’s chefs to fight for a common cause while looking out for the most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. Read about her initiatives in our article.
South Africa went into lockdown on 27th March for 21 days. President Cyril Ramaphosa believes the lockdown is working, so it has been extended to 30th April. The entire restaurant industry has been shut down; not even take-aways are allowed. This is having a catastrophic impact on our industry. Many restaurants will never open their doors again once the lockdown is lifted. To date, South Africa has 3,953 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 126,000 tests have been conducted. 75 deaths have been recorded. The President announced a massive social relief and economic support package of R500 billion, which amounts to around 10% of GDP. R20 billion will be directed to funding the health response to coronavirus. Poverty and food insecurity have reached the worst possible lows over the past few weeks. An additional R100 billion is being set aside to protect and create jobs in South Africa.
On 23rd April, the President addressed the nation and shared news as to how he will phase the re-opening of the economy starting from 1st May. He believes that abruptly ending the lockdown might mean an uncontrollable resurgence of the disease. Here are some great initiatives happening on a daily basis within the restaurant industry.
25. Restaurant Relief Fund by Eat Out
Restaurant guide Eat Out quickly pivoted to launch their own Restaurant Relief Fund, through which they offer financial support to businesses that have reopened their kitchens to create meals for the needy in their communities or to supply feeding schemes. For more information and to find out how you can help, head to the website.
26. Vouchers to support closed restaurants and bars
Beer brand Stella Artois has created a platform where consumers can buy special discounted gift cards to be redeemed once restaurants reopen. The company is topping up every first purchase by 50%, helping give back to restaurants and bars suffering during the pandemic. Visit the website to discover how it works, nominate a bar or restaurant or add your business to the database.
27. Feeding the needy by restaurants and charities across South Africa
With her charity Isabelo – Feeding Hungry Minds, chef Margot Janse had been providing nutritious warm meals to hundreds of impoverished pre-school children in Franschhoek, but when schools were closed across the country, she had to rethink her approach. Soon, she devoted her resources and skills to supporting Disaster Management Franschhoek, a newly formed effort to provide weekly food packs to struggling families and the elderly during the health crisis, collaborating with many other renowned chefs. Janse is appealing for donations to keep the initiative running and has set up a dedicated page for anyone who can help.
Meanwhile, Indian restaurant Thava joined forces with chef Philippe Frydman and NGO Nosh Food Rescue to help provide hot and nutritious meals to hungry children. The restaurant group converted its Norwood branch into a community kitchen, delivering hundreds of meals within the first few days, with Nosh Food Rescue organising the food distribution. The team behind the initiative is appealing to everyone to donate any oversupply of stock and anyone wanting to contribute should contact the restaurant from Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm on 011 728 2826 or email@example.com or Hanneke at Nosh Food Rescue on 082 338 4538.
Kitchen and home store Yuppiechef is also raising funds for restaurants by auctioning special drawings of iconic Cape Town restaurant. The auction is now closed, but follow the Instagram page for updates and new initiatives.
UK & Ireland
28. Preparing homecooked meals for medical workers by Jikoni
Chef Ravinder Bhogal of Jikoni restaurant in London’s Marylebone wanted to help NHS workers, but didn't want to put her staff at risk. With the help of her husband Nadeem, she started cooking meals for nearby King's College Hospital staff. Between them, they have been turning out hundreds of homecooked meals, which are handed out for free to exhausted medical workers. Initially, Bhogal funded the initiative out of her own pocket with the help of some food donations by her suppliers, but everyone can now make a donation to keep the initiative running on the NHS wellness box GoFundMe page.
29. Uniting to help key workers by Bristol restaurants
In Bristol, local restaurants and producers have banded together to form Bristol Food Union, a collective cooking meals for local key workers. Just as importantly, they are working to provide a platform for producers, growers and restaurants to continue selling online, and are already looking ahead to how they can support the food community after lockdown. On their new website, you can shop for food from local businesses in Bristol, buy a meal for frontline workers, donate to the Bristol Food Fund and sign up to a newsletter to stay up to date with developments.
Spain & Portugal
I would like to send a message of gratitude and encouragement to the hospitality industry. Gratitude because once again it has demonstrated its ability to react and to show solidarity, but also to make itself heard as one voice. Now, more than ever, it is important for those in government to bear in mind that these small businesses that overflow with talent and that seek excellence are one of the great attractions of the country and a driving force for its tourism. They are a fundamental part of our culture and generators of wealth for many sectors of society. We must remember that beyond providing a salary to those who cook, serve, or clean, restaurants give life to fish markets, wine producers, small-scale artisans, and a large chain of professionals who are essential in their constant search for excellence. That's why we must help them. We will need the magic of the restaurant and the empathy of those cooks who are willing to open the doors of their homes, which are also our homes. We will need to enjoy their tables and meals again to celebrate when life can finally carry on.
30. Cooking meals for those in need by World Central Kitchen
These days, there are many initiatives that have once again shown the entrepreneurial spirit and solidarity of the chefs of Spain and Portugal, many of whom have organised themselves to help the most disadvantaged groups with emergency kitchens that supply the homeless, the elderly who cannot go out to buy groceries or medical workers risking their lives to beat the virus. Among these, the World Central Kitchen project led by José Andres has landed for the first time in the chef’s home country and is working in Madrid and Barcelona with the help of chefs and other social projects with whom he has established synergies.
31. Lobbying the government by Spanish chefs
Some of Spain’s best chefs are sharing a yellow heart inside which you can read the hashtag #UnoPuntoSiete (one point seven). What is #UnoPuntoSiete? It is a platform that aims to act as a loudspeaker and unite the efforts of the 1.7 million hospitality sector workers in Spain to make the government aware of their demands through an appeal on change.org, which is supported by Makro and the involvement of Hostelería de España, Euro-Toques, Facyre, Revolución en Sala, Unión Española de Catadores, Escuela española de Cata, CEOE, Madrid Fusión and San Sebastián Gastronomika, among other organisations. Read and sign the petition by clicking here.
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32. Vouchers to support closed restaurants by ElTenedor
ElTenedor is offering prepaid vouchers that can be redeemed once restaurants reopen, so that the establishments can have some income to allow them to stay afloat – especially restaurants that cannot offer delivery. Restaurants all over Spain have signed up to the service, which can be accessed from salvemosnuestrosrestaurantes.es.
33. Cooking meals from donations by Belcanto
In Portugal, Belcanto chef José Avíllez is preparing meals with the donations of companies and private customers, in support of the Santa Maria Maior Parish Council in Lisbon and its Mesa dos Afectos initiative. The project targets individuals and families in need in the parish, providing free meals by collection or delivery.
34. Feed the Nurses by Belgian chefs
Several chefs in Flanders are showing their solidarity towards staff in hospitals and care homes with the Feed the Nurses project, preparing meals and delivering them to the staff of more than 50 hospitals and care homes in Flanders. The initiative works with help from catering services, food suppliers and other partners that support the logistics.
They deliver about 1,800 meals a day and are currently looking for people and companies who can donate large quantities of ingredients, like minced meat, chicken, beef stew, fresh fish, pasta and rice, tomato passata, vegetables and potatoes, fruit and dairy products. They are also looking for chocolatiers and pâtissiers so they can spoil the medical staff with tasty desserts.
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I would like to express my admiration for the international food community for adapting so incredibly fast and in so many different ways to an unexpected and extremely challenging situation. Gastronomy is essential to our social lives, it creates a unique sense of community between people and often provides us with unforgettable experiences. What used to be a meal at a great restaurant is now the best delivery or take-away food you could ever imagine. This industry is too important and creative not to come back, and it will – transformed and maybe stronger than before.
35. Sharing information and knowledge
I started an Instagram Live Talk series for B-EAT magazine, together with a chefs’ and producers' initiative from Berlin called Die Gemeinschaft, founded by Billy Wagner of Nobelhart & Schmutzig and a few other restaurateurs. We are talking to chefs, restaurateurs and producers about the challenges and ideas that this crisis has brought to them. Follow the series on the B-EAT magazine’s Instagram page.
36. Cooking for heroes by Tulus Lotrek
The Kochen für Helden (Cooking for Heroes, @kochen_fuer_helden) project was started on 18th March by Max Strohe, the chef of Tulus Lotrek restaurant in Berlin. They are cooking meals for the staff of a local hospital with the leftovers from the closed restaurant and other donated ingredients. Many chefs and restaurateurs from all over Germany followed suit and there are many cities in Germany now where a restaurant or more is ‘cooking for heroes’ (and heroines, of course).
37. Selling suppliers’ produce by Sosein
Sosein restaurant near Nuremberg is delivering boxes with an amazing variety of produce from the region of Franconia from small producers you would normally only get in the restaurant. They are also delivering fermentations and preserves from their kitchen and posting videos of chef Felix Schneider showing how to cook recipes with the produce in the box.
38. Baking and selling bread by Lode & Stijn
Lode & Stijn restaurant in Berlin have turned the place into a small grocery shop/bakery where everyone can now buy the amazing bread that you could normally only get when eating at the restaurant. Lode van Zuylen, one of the owners, is a chef and a trained baker coming from a family of bakers.
Austria, Switzerland, Hungary & Slovenia
39. Cooking for crisis workers by Steirereck
When Heinz and Birgit Reitbauer had to close their restaurant, they transformed the business into a charity kitchen overnight and have been cooking packed lunches for employees of the fire brigade, police and emergency services. The restaurant is asking for donations of food staples, as well as cups and boxes, to maintain the service.
Heinz and Birgit Reitbauer
40. Supporting the food chain by Hiša Franko
Chef Ana Roš and her staff are finding ways to support each other emotionally while feeding the local community and propping up the food chain. Read about the chef’s experience and the projects she is working on with the Hiša Franko team in our article.
Restaurants are easy victims of the Covid-19 pandemic and many in Italy are very fragile: small businesses with low capital, high fixed costs and revenues down to zero for an indefinite period of time. However, they are not giving up, and many are finding alternative ways to keep busy, stay afloat and help their own business.
41. Dining bonds and vouchers by restaurants all over Italy
Dining bonds represent a way for regular clients to support their favourite restaurants by paying today for a discounted dinner to be had at a later date. Chef Giuseppe Iannotti from Kresios in Telese Terme explains: “Our restaurant stayed alive thanks to travellers, with 40% of them coming from Lombardy and 23% from the United States. At the moment, everything stands still, but we don’t. We started offering these bonds, which do not offer a discount but a special experience: whoever buys them will be compensated with special, dedicated meals.”
Others who have taken on this idea are: chef Cristina Bowerman from Glass Hostaria in Rome, restaurant Oltre in Bologna, San Domenico in Imola and Fanfaron Bistrot in Turin. Another initiative is that of selling vouchers: you can buy a tasting menu for one today and have a dinner for two at reopening. This is being done, for example, by chef Andrea Berton of Ristorante Berton in Milan.
42. Offering luxury meals by delivery
Many great restaurants are offering lunch and dinner by delivery: Da Vittorio in Bergamo, the Alajmo family at Le Calandre in Rubano, Niko Romito at Spazio in Rome, Daniel Canzian at Wicky’s Innovative Japanese Cuisine in Milan, Moreno Cedroni at Anikò in Senigallia, restaurant Filippo in Pietrasanta in Versilia and even wine shop Enoteca Marcucci, also in Pietrasanta in Versilia. This approach has also been adopted by more traditional restaurants. An example of this comes from Irina Steccanella of Irina Trattoria in Bologna. This young woman, who has worked with Massimo Bottura, had just recently opened her new trattoria after being forced to close it up. She too is now organising deliveries, as well as cooking for local health workers.
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43. Cooking for health workers by Italian chefs
Chef Carlo Cracco and his team are cooking every day for the workers building a new hospital in Milan, while the Cerea brothers look after the canteen of the field hospital which has been built in Bergamo. Rome’s hospital, the Spallanzani, also has great chefs who have taken it upon themselves to cook for its doctors, nurses and other health workers: Nabil Hadj Hassen from Roscioli, Alessandro Roscioli himself, Walter Regolanti from Romolo al Porto, Archangelo Dandini from L’Arcangelo, Mario Sansone from Marzapane, and Giuseppe Lo Iudice from Retrobottega, in collaboration with Luigi Cremona.
In Caserta, the famous pizza chef Franco Pepe has been making pizzas for the homeless. Not only this, but he also started a fundraiser with the hashtag #FacciamoRete (let's make a natwork) with chef Rosanna Marziale in order to help the intensive care unit of Caserta’s hospital.
44. Adapting the wine industry to new times
Many wine producers are also working hard to keep in touch with customers and industry critics. Global wine fair Vinitaly was set to be held in Verona between 18th and 22nd April – an event in which wineries, buyers and trade press from all over the world meet for conferences and tastings. Unable to go ahead with the physical event, some producers – such as Sicilian company Cusumano and the Tuscan company Frescobaldi – are organising remote tastings. This is how it works: they invite a certain number of buyers, sommeliers and wine writers to take part in a tasting, and they receive the bottles of wine at home, which are then tasted in a video conference led by the company's sommelier.
Turkey, Greece & the Balkans
45. Compiling the best recipes to cook at home
I’m working on a book to be called Restaurants at Home, featuring 100 recipes from 100 restaurants in Istanbul. It is supported not only by the restaurants, who will donate the recipes, but also by brands and foundations in the F&B industry. All the money raised from sponsors as well as from book sales will go into a fund for restaurant employees in need.
Eastern Europe, Russia & Central Asia
I would encourage everyone to take this time to reflect on your true values and on how everyone can help to heal the planet. Give love and try to appreciate even the smallest things. I truly believe all our good and mindful deeds will affect others. Human contact and kindness are as essential as medicine and our true work now is to take care of our environment: family, home, friends, co-workers, and our own souls.
46. “We are safe” stickers by Where to Eat
In St Petersburg, the Where to Eat team created an initiative to support restaurants that fulfil the government’s strict health and safety guidelines and are staying open. They created a ‘we are safe’ sticker that can be widely shared via social media to inform potential visitors and encourage them to visit restaurants.
47. Raising funds by various chefs and restaurateurs
Restaurant owners are working hard to save jobs and support their farmers and suppliers. Vladimir Perelman established foundation to support workers who need money the most. The White Rabbit family is trying to raise funds for farmers, one of the most vulnerable parts of the industry, and for their staff, providing free masterclasses on-demand and asking for a donation.
48. Online chef's table and virtual collaborations by White Rabbit and more
White Rabbit chef Vladimir Mukhin has launched a new format of dining during the lockdown: an online chef’s table. All participants receive a set menu and start dinner at the same time, while connecting to the chef via a specially designed digital platform. The first international four-hand online dinner is taking place on Sunday 19th April with the collaboration of Quintonil chef Jorge Vallejo from Mexico City. For updates, follow the dedicated Instagram page.
Over in the Czech Republic, chef Oldřich Sahajdák of restaurant La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise is also working to create virtual dinners to keep his staff working and bring happiness to the diners' own houses. Experiences can be booked online here.
Vladimir Mukhin, White Rabbit
In the Middle East, the lockdown has generally been stricter and started long before Europe and the US. The only thing allowed at the moment are home deliveries, but fine-dining restaurants have all chosen to close down as their cost of operation is too high and they prefer not to put any of their staff at risk during this crisis.
49. Buy-now-drink-later coffee by Kalei Coffee Co.
Kalei Coffee Co. is selling something called ‘Kalei Suspendu’, which is a cup of coffee paid for in advance. Cold brews, granola, wine and pantry items are also now available on their online store, and staff on motor bikes are delivering them across the city.
India, Central Asia & Subcontinent
Rashmi Uday Singh
50. Support Restaurants campaign by DineOut
Dineout, India's largest restaurant tech solutions platform, has started selling dining vouchers at a discounted price that can be redeemed once restaurants reopen. The initiative helps restaurants to receive some much needed finances during the closure, while also offering considerable savings for diners. Hundreds of restaurants have signed up to the platform, which is also urging users to sign the petition "Save Restaurants in India #ReliefForRestaurants" on change.org.
51. Feeding the needy by the National Restaurant Association of India
The National Restaurant Association of India has launched an appeal for donations in order to provide 10 million meals during the lockdown period to vulnerable families in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata. They have already reached the milestone of one million meals. Everyone can contribute to their efforts by making a donation on the website.
52. Food delivery and donations by Masque
On 9th April, Mumbai restaurant Masque reopened its kitchen and lab to cook meals for takeaway and delivery, preparing heartening ramen bowls, Thai bhel and even truffle mushroom pasta. Rs.50 from every order goes towards the Mumbai Food Project, an initiative launched by the Pratham Mumbai Education Initiative to serve meals to key workers across Mumbai by partnering with NGOs and volunteers. You can also make a donation to the Mumbai Food Project on the initiative's webpage.
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53. Supporting vulnerable people by chefs and organisations across India
Puneet Chhatwal, CEO of Taj Hotels, has started an initiative to cook and pack meals in the kitchen of TajSats. As many as 5,000 meals a day are delivered to public hospitals in Mumbai and the company is working to expand the initiative to Delhi. Also in Mumbai, Indian celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor is spearheading an effort to feed the needy and has appealed to chefs, caterers, restaurant owners and financial donors to join the project. Partnering up with NGO Akshaya Patra Foundation, he is putting forward an innovative model to encourage restaurant owners and caterers to use their facilities and limited staff to cook for the needy, while assisting them with ingredients and cooking materials. The initiative is spreading to Delhi too. Visit the website to donate to the Akshaya Patra Foundation’s relief fund.
Many more restaurant owners are keeping their staff employed during the lockdown to feed the needy, and some have also hired other kitchens and caterers to contribute to the project. Neeti Goel, owner of restaurants Keiba, Madras Diaries and Ostaad, and her team are working around the clock to feed the 500,000 people on the streets as well as daily workers out of a job. In Mumbai, project Khaana Chahiye is fighting hunger with over 170,000 meals already served. Find out more about the initiative on the website and click here to donate.
Other businesses that have joined the fight are Masala Library and Farzi Café, serving up to 5,000 meals a day across Gurugram, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Jalaram Snacks, Sweets & Farsan is donating snacks to vulnerable people in their local area, while BBQ Nation is providing free meals to daily wage workers during the pandemic. Having successfully provided 180,000 meals in Delhi and Bangalore, they are now working to distribute in other areas. Click here to donate to the “Feed the Daily Wager” campaign.
The brilliant Michelin-starred chef, poet, author and filmmaker Vikas Khanna is single-handedly masterminding and funding a mammoth 50-city initiative in India through social media and WhatsApp while being based in New York. The empathetic and emotional chef kept pausing to break into tears over the desperate messages of help he has been receiving.
He is committed to serving 1.5 million cooked meals and 5.5 million dry rations during the pandemic, as well as helping with sourcing extra personal protective equipment for medical staff. Over 100,000 masks have been specially made on his request for distribution to care homes, orphanages and homeless shelters. The chef has been inundated by countless requests for help and volunteers.
The Smile Foundation, the Akshaya Patra Foundation and CII Foundation are working around the clock supporting Khanna. The chef is asking people to check with their neighbourhood orphanages and care homes and get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org if they need to receive meals or rations.
Foodlink restaurants and caterers have created The Khichdi Project, an initiative run by Sanjay Vazirani. The group is running a massive exercise in their Mumbai Central kitchen to churn out over 100,000 Khichdi (meal) packets daily, which are distributed by police stations and multiple NGOs to police force on duty, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) workers and the needy. To get updates and support the initiative, visit thekhichdiproject.com.
54. Sharing essential knowledge during the pandemic
Food Matters created the campaign What Matters, a series of live expert sessions held on The Table's Instagram during lockdown. The sessions have been created by employees, for employees of the restaurant industry to address their concerns, help them grapple with the challenges they’re facing and learn about what lies ahead in the future of the industry. Topics include dealing with anxiety, motivation, personal finance management, inventory management, the future of the wine industry, and more.
South-East Asia (North)
In this difficult time for everyone in the industry, the most heartening thing for me is to see chefs, restauranteurs and customers unite in an unprecedented way. I can’t think of another industry where customers are urging businesses to sell more, even to charge more – they want to see their favourite chefs and restaurants survive because, in many countries, help is not coming thick or fast enough. Let’s keep pushing, keep cooking and keep feeding! #NeverGiveUp
55. Local delivery and produce baskets by Le Du
Chef Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn is delivering from all three of his restaurants: the refined Le Du, Baan (casual home-cooked Thai dishes) and Mayrai Bar, which opened less than a month before the lockdown was enforced, serving 99 Baht ($3) Pad Thai. He is still using 100% local ingredients for his delivery dishes, even though it’s getting tougher as many cities are under lockdown. The chef has also launched the #MarketfulBox initiative, through which he is helping his producers and suppliers from the Thai countryside to sell their harvest. Follow the chef on Instagram for the latest updates.
Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn
56. Gaggan Anand’s classic dishes delivered to your home
Gaggan moved his main team from his eponymous restaurant to the new Mexican-Indian casual joint Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh. He opened the place on 6th March, but had to close only two weeks later due to the lockdown in Bangkok. His old-time classics, like the Pork Vindaloo, Crab Curry and Chicken Tikka Masala, have made a much-welcome return on the delivery menu now available, along natural wines. All the updates are posted on Instagram.
57. #KeepRolling by Litti and Dej Kewkacha
My brother and I run a chain of dessert cafés and bakeries called Kyo Roll En. In this initiative, we collaborated with chefs Gaggan Anand, Thomas and Matias Sühring, Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn and Supaksorn 'Ice' Jongsiri to create a series of “roll cakes” – like a Swiss roll, but Japanese style. All proceeds from the sales go to support the staff of each restaurant and local producers.
Anand kicked it off with a “Pick It Up” roll cake, a spin on his famous Lick It Up dish. The name was chosen to emphasise social distancing measures of no communal sharing of food. It’s a combination of yuzu, mango and cheesecake. Chef Ton and Dej co-designed a mille crêpe roll (like a mille-feuille but made from layers of crepes) using 100% local chocolate from a rare, small cacao farmer in Chiang Mai and jackfruit, which is in season now. The Sühring brothers and Supaksorn 'Ice' Jongsiri also got involved in the initiative. Click here to see the latest roll cakes available.
58. Tiffin box meals and grocery delivery by Bo.Lan
Chefs Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Dylan ‘Lan’ Jones of Bo.Lan have set up their own delivery collective with fellow restaurants Appia, Eat Me, Err, Bunker, Peppina and Soul Food Mahanakorn. They offer takeaway and delivery meals while bypassing the most popular delivery services, which charge them up to 30%. To avoid using plastic, the Bo.Lan team delivers full meals on a weekly or monthly basis in beautiful tiffin boxes, consisting of several portions of ready-made meals.
The chefs have also started delivering their suppliers’ produce in Grocer Boxes, including fruit, vegetables, fresh seafood and meat, sent along with suggested recipes to make with the ingredients in each box. Head to their Instagram profile for the latest on both initiatives.
Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Dylan ‘Lan’ Jones
59. Fundraising to feed the hungry by Deepanker ‘DK’ Khosla
Chef Deepanker ‘DK’ Khosla of urban farm-to-table Haoma Bangkok has launched a fundraising campaign whose proceeds will go towards cooking and providing hot meals for thousands of struggling cooks and their families. Click here to visit the #NoOneHungry campaign’s donation page.
South-East Asia (South)
Most parts of the southern region of South East Asia – including Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia – remain in lockdown due to Covid-19, but it has been uplifting to see chefs and restaurants take up quiet leadership during this period to provide for their employees. Many restaurants remain open to serve take-away menus – yes, even Asia’s No.1 Odette is doing takeout! In Singapore, where migrant workers living in dormitories have been hit hard by the outbreak, it is heart-warming to see restaurant groups working with NGOs to provide 450 meals a day during the Circuit Breaker period.
60. Feeding medical workers by Labyrinth
Led by chef Han Li Guang of Labyrinth, several restaurants (including Keng Eng Kee and Jam at Sri House) have teamed up to purchase and deliver halal-certified bento boxes prepared by Pezzo Food, which itself doubles the value of the donations from each restaurant, to feed 200 medical workers at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) caring for Covid-19 patients. In the first three weeks, the team raised S$6,000 and, in return, Pezzo delivered S$12,000 worth of bento boxes to healthcare workers. Due to overwhelming response, Chef Han is looking to donate excess collection to other healthcare institutions.
61. Tough Time Tickets by Preludio
Chef Fernando Arevalo of Preludio started selling Tough Time Tickets (TTT) as a means to help tide over the tough period his restaurant is experiencing as a result of extensive cancellations when Covid-19 struck. The tickets offer guests the opportunity to taste an eight-course menu for the price of six courses at a later date, up to one year from the date of purchase. The ticket sale was so encouraging that Arevalo offered the TTT to other like-minded restaurants. Today, other Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, including Odette, Locavore, Dewakan and Jaan by Kirk Westaway, have joined the platform.
62. Delivering luxury meals by restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia
Acknowledging the challenges that lockdowns and restrictions are putting on foodies, several of the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants have started to offer versions of their luxury meals for take-out and delivery. In Singapore, The Best Restaurant in Asia 2020 launched Odette at Home, a service through which diners can create their own multi-course Odette experience and enjoy it without leaving the house. Burnt Ends – also in Singapore – is selling meals online, including the signature Sanger burger, steak frites and Jamaican chicken wings. Staying in the city, Nordic-inspired restaurant Zén is also delivering everything from gift baskets to five-course menus. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, restaurant Dewakan launched the #DewakanPlateChallenge, selling ingredient kits to make the restaurant's recipes at home along with detailed recipes and directions; and in Manila, Philippines, Toyo Eatery has also introduced a Lockdown Menu.
63. Supporting Singapore’s migrant workers by Straits Clan
Singapore’s migrant worker community has been hit hard by Covid-19 and, at the moment, is the largest community in city with the most urgent and dire need for food support. With help from The Lo & Behold Group, Straits Clan Community Kitchen has forged a partnership with the Collective of Migrant Efforts (COME) to create the #HomeForAll campaign, joining hands with more than 10 other NGOs and government agencies to deliver 450 meals per day, seven days a week to the Goldmine Energy Tuas Factory-Converted Dormitory (FCD) for migrant workers. The initiative is driven fully by volunteers who comprise members of the Straits Clan team and is 100% funded by contributions from the community as well as support from the #HomeForAll fundraiser led by COME. Click here to discover how you can help.
64. Lobbying the government to support the restaurant industry
The Japanese restaurant industry has come together to petition the government to provide more and better support for businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Click here to read and sign the petition, called ‘Save Japanese restaurants from bankruptcy during Covid-19’, on change.org.
Head to our coronavirus page for more content on how restaurants, bars and organisations are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and stay tuned to our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels, where we are sharing initiatives from around the world.