The Migrant Kitchen was founded in 2019 to create meaningful opportunities in the restaurant industry for immigrants and to pay them a living wage. When the pandemic hit, the founders pivoted from what started as a catering business to feeding healthcare workers in need.
Soon after, The Migrant Kitchen wasn’t just feeding hospital workers but also food pantries, senior centers and homeless centers. Now The Migrant Kitchen serves immigrant-inspired dishes to support food-insecure communities all over the city.
Executive chef Dorado and president Jaclinn Tanney chat with In The Know about running a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that aims to end the city’s hunger crisis.
“Our goal is to make sure that we are empowering the people who work for us in more disadvantaged communities and to give back to the community through The Migrant Kitchen Initiative,” Dorado says.
For every meal purchased at the nonprofit organization, a meal is donated to someone in need. What sets The Migrant Kitchen apart from similar initiatives is Dorado and Tanney’s focus on preparing culturally relevant meals for the communities they serve. The meals are by immigrants for immigrants. It’s a way of giving people a taste of home – and business is booming.
“We were able to do, from our start through now, over 3.5 million meals,” Tanney says.
The Migrant Kitchen is able to serve over 10,000 meals a day thanks to a network of about 150 chefs and cooks. Dorado pulls from his experience of Sunday dinners at his grandmother’s house, where eating together at the table was a way of building bonds.
“So for me, it’s bringing people together around a table to share stories, to share cultures, and you do that, and you relate to one another through the meal that’s on the table,” Dorado says.
He added, “And I think that it’s nice that we can actually go ahead and give that back to the community here in New York City.”
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