MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - With restaurants closed and staff laid off, this past year has been a difficult one for the hospitality industry. However, a group of chefs are stepping up to help their colleagues.
"This is the new normal. As you look at it, this is what we do now," said Chef David Fhima with Fhima's Minneapolis.
While boxed up meals and curbside service are what’s keeping Chef Fhima’s Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis going right now, there's something else pushing him forward, too.
"We're literally doing things that we have never been taught or know how to do we are doing right now," he explained.
Fhima alongside chefs Justin Sutherland and Brian Ingram are giving back to their fellow hospitality workers in a huge way.
"We’re still doing what we love. We are still doing what we’re trained to do, and quite frankly what some of us only know how to do," explained Chef Justin Sutherland with The Handsome Hog. "That’s cook, that’s feed, and that’s serve."
They’ve formed two nonprofits between the three of them since the pandemic started - the North Stands and Give Hope - doing everything from packing up meal boxes to hosting a weekly free community market.
"I think what hit home more is on this second closure is the people we know... that you wouldn’t expect to be in a food line are in a food line," said Chef Brian Ingram with Purpose Driven Restaurants.
Now, they’ve come up with a new way to help their colleagues. The chefs have created a chef’s calendar and cookbook combo featuring 12 local chefs, inspired after a photoshoot with Brian’s newborn baby son.
"My son was born a few weeks ago," he explained. "We did a photoshoot at our house and put him in a pot. I called Justin and said maybe we should do this and do a calendar."
All the money raised goes right to the pockets of hospitality workers in need.
"All you have to do is show you are in that industry and based upon your needs and the funds we have, we’re going to write you a check," added Sutherland.
"I’ve always been involved in charities and things like that but not at this level - and it’s embarrassing that it wasn’t before - but I am going to remember this and make sure that this keeps continuing," said Fhima.
The calendar cookbooks are available right now. You can order one for $25 by visiting givehopemn.org.