News: Culinary Kindness in the Age of Pandemic

At a New York relief kitchen, urgency meets empathy as immigrants create thousands of meals a day

At 5:30 a.m. in the kind of godforsaken industrial crevice of Queens where mob bodies are probably buried, Daniel Dorado recently waited in a line of mostly undocumented restaurant workers before the opening of Restaurant Depot, a wholesaler like Costco on steroids available only to the industry.

Feeding people who need food is meaningful social work, and the Migrant Kitchen NYC is doing it in a socially responsible way: producing thousands of meals daily for healthcare workers and people who are ‘food insecure,’ while paying the workers properly (“They pay wages of $20 to $25 an hour in their kitchen, Jaber said, and with the four other kitchens pooled 40 largely undocumented workers from Make The Road, a civil rights group…”), AND ensuring that any gig workers delivering to homebound folks are also fairly compensated (“Migrant Kitchen’s attention to empathy and generosity operates even at the courier level: Its DoorDash deliveries are filed so that the couriers get $35 per trip.”). It’s meaningful work being done in a meaningful way.

They are cooking serious dishes with foodie love:

The containers would soon be packed with sumptuous entrees: citrus garlic salmon with Cuban black beans and coconut herb rice, or moussaka-stuffed zucchini with dirty rice and beans, or mojo chicken with chimichurri and roasted potatoes with grilled shishito peppers.

And the kitchen is nut-free and halal, to look after a wide range of clients with care.

Dorado put it succinctly: “It’s pure New York. Every kitchen I’ve ever worked in this city has been a mini U.N.”

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