In this day and age we have to do all we can to help and protect others. Now the concept is going from towns and the cities to the restaurants in them. Should this be?Or should our eateries stay out of politics.
This was the dilemma posed in yesterday's New York Times Food section. Food regular, Kim Severson wrote about this movement that happened after Donald J. Trump became president.This current leader has brought about a nasty and pervasive climate of xenophobia, racism and misogyny. It sadly affects everyone from the farmers that provide the ingredients to the restaurant help who make those ingredients into delicious dishes. Yet at any moment those people can be snatched up by ICE and sent back to their countries of origin.Families will be split up. One restaurant owner arranged to take guardianship of thirteen employees' children if the parents get deported.Another restaurant, Double Comfort in Columbus, Ohio has declared itself a "sanctuary restaurant" meaning that all are welcome, from the LGBT community to immigrants to all races and religions. This was a no brainer for owner , Mary Lyski who already donates all of the restaurant's profits to local food pantries.She even invites Trump voters and supporters in,
Is it good to bring politics into food? Many social media followers have shown their dismay at celebrity chef, Mario Batali for his views, saying he should just stick to cooking and not policies. Yet some policies are connected to our appetites.Chef Edward Lee, who owns restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky and Washington DC feels that politics has always been a means to an end to improving their communities.He uses his restaurant as a tool to do just that.For those who want to get involved there is what is known as James Beard Foundation Boot Camps which trains chefs to shape food policy,Interest in these have grown since the election. There's a waiting list of eight hundred for this five year old service. Issues are dissected at them, Politics are forbidden as is the president's name.Luckily for the industry there is a new generation of chefs that have grown up on creating fundraisers and giving back to the community along with creating food drives. They will need that determination when they deal with various policies regarding nutrition and GMOs.
Do politics need to be in our restaurants? Should chefs be outspoken about our politicians? Yes on all acccounts. They too , are voters, and Americans too. They need to be heard. They need to be a strong universal voice.