While restaurant businesses have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, it has also brought out the best in the industry in many ways. Around the world, chefs, restaurants and communities have joined together for some inspiring and community-minded projects, from pivoting into soup kitchens or initiating food delivery services, to cook for and feed those most in need.
The Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund, set up by one of the largest restaurant directories in South Africa, is a great example of one such inspiring initiative, helping local restaurants and communities throughout the country.
Watch as these chefs share the impact their work and the fund’s contribution are having on the country and its people.
The initiative supports restaurants making meals for the needy in their communities, and offers feeding schemes for those most affected by the pandemic, by helping them cover some costs to remain operational. In this way they can reopen their doors as viable businesses when restrictions are lifted.
The fund opened on 24 April and to date has raised R1,486,577 (approx 86,000USD), including a donation from S.Pellegrino for R200,000. The money raised so far has allowed restaurants to step up and cook hearty meals for those who need them most.
Many inspiring projects and initiatives have already been set up by South African chefs, here are just a few of them:
Chef Bertus Basson of Overture, Eike, Spek & Bone and De Vrije Burger fame, also nominated as the 2019 Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year, joined forces with fellow Stellenbosch restaurateurs and wine producers to produce 20,000 meals per week. The chef had these words for anyone wanting to start up a feeding scheme: "Identify the need in your community and just get going. You have to start somewhere. People that work in hospitality understand generosity. Phone friends to assist you. Together we are stronger. It does not have to be a grand scheme. A little bit goes a long way."
Chris Erasmus of Foliage and Darren Badenhorst of Le coin Français and Le chêne restaurants turned their fine-dining kitchens into food production lines, to ensure those relying on the Isabelo feeding project get at least one hearty meal a day.
Big Momma's in Cape Town doubled up their open kitchen to run both a delivery service and a soup kitchen supplying hot meals to a child/youth care centre in the area. Through donations from friends, family and customers, and with the support of the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund.
Watch the interview below as Eat Out chats to Big Momma's owner Tawanda Mushapaidze: