Upscale restaurant 2941 and Food for Others are only two miles apart, but a world apart in every other way. Named as one of the 100 Very Best Restaurants by Washingtonian Magazine in 2017, 2941 is helmed by Executive Chef Bertrand Chemel, a classically trained French chef who worked under Daniel Boulud. The restaurant is surrounded by gorgeous landscaping, koi ponds, and a waterfall, and features world class artwork.
Food for Others is a food pantry of considerably more modest surroundings.
The COVID-19 crisis has brought us together in an unusual partnership. Increased demand for groceries has not only limited the food donations Food for Others is receiving, it is also limiting our ability to buy nonperishables from our suppliers. Capital Area Food Bank, our biggest supplier, is doing their best but can’t fill our orders completely either.
At the same time, demand for food assistance is skyrocketing. We are routinely serving four times our usual numbers at the warehouse, seeing nearly 250 families daily.
Like other restaurants, 2941 has been forced to lay off staff during the mandatory restaurant closures.
Chef Chemel and his team have worked out a system where they negotiate good prices and purchase bulk supplies like rice, pasta, potatoes, peppers, fruit and meat/fish from their restaurant suppliers. They have re-employed 20 of their staff on a part-time basis to break down the bulk orders into family-sized bags in their restaurant’s kitchen. They then deliver these packages to Food for Others every day. Food for Others reimburses them for the cost of the food and labor.
“Fairfax County is one of the wealthiest regions in the country and yet more than 70,000 people live in poverty,” says Chemel. “Sadly, demand for food is only increasing with the coronavirus outbreak, so we signed up to prepare 250 meals for Food for Others to distribute each day.”
This partnership has been a lifeline to Food for Others during the supply chain disruptions. Our inventory has never been lower, but with the help of 2941 and generous donors, we are able to stay open and provide some much needed assistance to our community.