New Orleans restaurants, chefs and servers feeding our healthcare workers and first responders while financially supporting our independent restaurants, culinary talent and service industry.
At this unprecedented moment in history, Chef’s Brigade is launching a pilot program to support our healthcare workers and first responders while simultaneously supporting the legendary culinary talent and staff in New Orleans.
Using solutions from the Great Depression, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Pandemic of 1918, we are marrying proven ideas and programs with the modern to develop a scalable near-term solution to feed first responders and healthcare workers while simultaneously providing a low financial current to our restaurant industry and their staff.
Completely scalable to handle any level of our current and future crisis, the Chef’s Brigade program bundles restaurants together as a brigade and points them directly towards distribution nodes located in hospital parking lots and NOPD stations to provide, free, hot and safe meals to all first responders while implementing all necessary precautions to limit person-to-person contact and secondary means of COVID-19 transmission. The prepared food will be simple New Orleans comfort foods – think jambalaya and red beans and rice.
Here’s how it works: Using our existing fine dining and neighborhood restaurants as distributed kitchens, Chef’s Brigade bundles ten local independent restaurants into a brigade and pairs them with healthcare facilities and NOPD stations. Using this distributed kitchen model to foster social distancing and extremely limited person-to-person interaction through logistics and at the on-site distribution nodes, the Chef’s Brigade pilot program will demonstrate food production bandwith and throughput to handle nearly any situation in our current crisis.
Understanding that this is a difficult ask of restaurants currently experiencing a reduction of 90% of their business, Chef’s Brigade will directly compensate restaurants, cooks and servers involved in the program with cash stipends paid weekly and gathered from donations and grants. This is not a financial panacea for the culinary industry, it is a tourniquet. Our secondary and simultaneous goal is to provide a low current of financial energy into the New Orleans culinary industry to supplement the income of these restaurants subsisting only on take-out business, support their purveyors, assist restaurants with staff retention, and allow for an easier industry restart once through the crisis.
It’s time to think outside of the box and work on possible solutions.
In conjunction with the NOPD, we are initiating the demonstration pilot program to support the District 3 NOPD station with free lunches and then ramping up to lunch and dinner starting the week of March 23 following our initial fundraising.
After a successful rollout of the pilot program, we will be accepting restaurants to participate in new brigades as we duplicate the brigade system for new healthcare and first responder distribution nodes. If you are a restaurant owner and wish to partner with us, please reach out via email and we will explain the process and necessary precautions. Servers and cooks utilized in the program will be selected by participating restaurant’s management – Chef’s Brigade will not be determining or selecting any individual cooks or servers to participate.
Who we are: Chef’s Brigade is a start-up organization founded by New Orleans food writers, chefs, restaurateurs and business people partnering with large corporations involved in the local food industry. We will be filing an application for approval as a 501(c)3 non profit by March 23.
After the launch of the pilot program, Chef’s Brigade will make a white paper available on this website detailing the methods, logistics, and best practices learned through the pilot in order that similar programs can be formed and ramp up across the country.