Chef Rick Bayless

Rick Bayless is converting an anonymous $250,000 donation into relief for restaurant workers enduring the hardships of the COVID-19 crisis. He announced the effort in a Facebook video posted yesterday.

“Weeks ago, when all the restaurants were shuttered, suddenly tens of thousands of restaurant workers were literally just put out,” he said. “They were all laid off.”

Bayless is the award-winning, Chicago-based chef, author and media personality who owns and operates some of the city’s most popular eateries, including Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Red O. After explaining how the people who make Chicago’s “favorite food” are among “the most vulnerable,” he described a unique initiative to support them during the stay-at-home order.

Twice a week the group builds 400 “beautiful boxes to distribute,” he said. “Very beautiful food: fresh vegetables, meat, bread, eggs. All the stuff that could make a really good meal, which is great because most restaurant workers know how to cook.”

After loading the containers with donations from the US Food service, Bayless and a consortium of Chicago chefs distribute them to the Windy City’s laid off restaurant workers.

The title of the post referenced an anonymous $250,000 donation that, so far, has remained anonymous. Text accompanying the video listed items that the monetary gift will be used for. Among them:

  • Buying US Foods by the truckload.
  • Hiring 15 aid-off restaurant workers to sort grocery boxes.
  • Distributing groceries to employees at Frontera Grill restaurants.
  • Partnering with chefs throughout Chicago to pick up grocery boxes for their staff.



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