The restaurant industry remains one of the most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with tens of thousands of cooks, servers, and bartenders losing their jobs.
Seattle chef Jude Watson was one of them.
Rather than channeling their energy into something negative, Watson knew that with last year’s Black Lives Matter protests as well as job losses, there was an opportunity to rethink how the culinary world shows up for the Black community in times of need. Thus, Cooks for Black Lives Matter was born.
Cooks for Black Lives Matter connects chefs, bakers, and farmers to produce monthly CSA boxes benefitting King County Equity Now.
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After raising over $25,000 in 2020, Cooks for Black Lives Matter is expanding its services. On February 7, Watson and Cooks for Black Lives Matter’s culinary lead, Max Goldstein, will be hosting the first of several virtual workshops for the restaurant industry, beginning in the Pacific and Inland Northwest to start.
“Our model is easily reproducible, and scalable,” said Watson, who hopes to provide peers in other communities with the education and inspiration needed to similarly support Black-led movements.
Their first virtual workshop is titled Hungry for Justice and will take place on Sunday, February 7 from 11 am to 12:15 pm.
The workshop is aimed at owners of food restaurants and businesses who want to do more for racial equity or individuals interested in running food-based fundraisers.
Cooks for Black Lives Matter will be teaching the public how to use food to move money toward racial justice organizing.
Event info and a link to register can be found on the Cooks for BLM website.
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In addition to the events, the organization works with a network of local donors to deliver 60-80 boxes of 10 gourmet vegetarian items to customers’ doorsteps.
Each box costs $105, and 85% of the program’s revenue is donated directly to Black-led organizations in Seattle, with 10% going back into the participating culinary community.
“This is what makes our model sustainable,” said Watson in a press release. “We’re able to recoup product costs for the individuals who generously donate their time to our cause.”
Those interested in joining the waitlist for the next CSA can do so online.