The Covid-19 crisis has truly brought unprecedented challenges to everyone in the US food industry. But there’s no doubt that the immigrant workers within the industry are among those having the hardest time of it.
A lot of them don’t have jobs right now because the restaurants where they worked have closed down, either temporarily or permanently. Unfortunately, their immigrant status prevents them from seeking unemployment benefits or federal assistance, said a report by CultureMap Dallas. Finding another job may be out of the question for them because their visa depends on having a single employer.
Moreover, returning to their home countries may not be an option because of travel restrictions. And if they do manage to go back home, they may not be able to come back to the US for work.
To address this problem, New York-based industry leaders Gaeleen Quinn and Anna Polonsky launched the Ask Chefs Anything initiative. It’s a project that’s spread to various cities all over the country through different charity partnerships. In Dallas, Harvest Project Food Rescue is the project’s partner. More than 30 Dallas chefs have signed up for the project, and I’m honored to be one of them.
Ask Chefs Anything auctions off Zoom time with chefs
How did Ask Chefs Anything work in the first place? It’s actually quite simple. Each chef participating in the project will allot 30 minutes of one-on-one time on Zoom. This Zoom “date” is then auctioned off to the highest bidder. The winning bidder gets to ask their chosen chef literally anything during their one-on-one time.
As mentioned, more than 30 Dallas chefs joined the cause. Bidding went on from June 22 to 25 with a goal to raise $8,500 for the Dallas food industry’s immigrant workers. When the auction closed on June 25, the money collected totaled $8,647, exceeding the set goal. All the participating chefs had their Zoom time successfully auctioned off.
How did I do? I had six bidders vie for my Zoom time. These bids contributed $221 toward the Ask Chefs Anything goal. But no matter how the outcome turned out, I’m happy to have had this platform to feed people’s souls.
Ask Chefs Anything still accepts donations. If you wish to donate, click here.