World renowned Houston chef Chris Shepherd has a message for food influencers that they might not want to hear: stop asking for free food during a pandemic.
Shepherd, a James Beard Award-winning chef, who was also last year named as the world’s best chef by Robb Report, posted a message on Instagram copying a conversation between a chef and an unnamed food blogger asking for complimentary food in exchange for a post.
"Friendly reminder to not be asking independent restaurants for free food ever, but especially right now. Restaurants have the tiniest profit margins and are hanging on by a thread right now. Millions of people are without jobs. Millions more are about to be without jobs. This is extremely tone-deaf. Be better. Support restaurants by dining in, ordering to-go or getting food delivered. Support local."
With the restaurant industry facing its biggest challenge for decades and many struggling to survive, some would be surprised to read that food influencers still think it’s appropriate to look for handouts from small business giving everything to try and keep their staff employed.
For those who are, instead, looking to help restaurants, Shepherd encouraged them to donate to his nonprofit Southern Smoke Foundation, which helps restaurant workers facing financial hardship. The chef said the foundation has received more than 30,000 applications for assistance since the pandemic began.