Image via @ chefrashad2.0 / Instagram
With COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus pandemic, many restaurants across the country have had to learn new ways to adapt to the new reality of social distancing and suffer from lost revenue from mandatory indoor meal quarantine closures. Now a black chef wants to give back to his hometown of Oakland by creating a hub that helps other local black food businesses.
Food Network Chopped Winner, Rashad Armstead, is the founder of the Black Food Collective, a hub supporting local black-owned restaurants in the East Oakland, California area to help struggling food entrepreneurs in a public health crisis. The take-out spot has now turned into a rotating pop-up area where members of the community can support local providers.
“I don’t have an opportunity to get back to a job and get back to a normal routine,” he said, according to MSN. “I have to do something that will pay off in the long run because I run the risk of my whole life going down the drain.” Armstead speaks about dealing with several family members who tested positive for the coronavirus and losing most of the catering work he was dependent on. The ordeal caused him to rethink how he served food to people with new safety measures.
“I don’t want to be responsible for anyone getting sick or having to find out what my little brother went through,” he said. After seeing other members of the community before similar fights, Armstead used the space as an opportunity for the community to band together to support one another.
“We can keep talking, we can keep marching, we can keep protesting, but until we control the way our dollar circulates in our community, no one is going to listen to us,” he added. “I’m going to show on a small scale what can happen when black food companies work together.”