The article – which recounts the story of Sanford employees’ service feeding 86 men staying at Milwaukee's largest publicly funded homeless shelter, the Guest House – is both a touching reminder that humanity prevails during the holiday season, as well as a statement on the generosity and love that Milwaukee chefs put into their work.
The Guest House meal program, which is reliant upon the generosity of volunteers, currently employs the talents of Sanford, as well as the Bartolotta Restaurants and Black Shoe Hospitality, as well as a host of other faith-based volunteers and institutions.
"At Sanford, the staff cooks for the shelter once a month," the article states. "Aprahamian, who won the James Beard Award in 2014 for the best chef in the Midwest, said they usually make food that travels easily, like stir-fry dishes, curries and pastas."
On this particular occasion, cassoulet was on the menu.
A video posted on Yahoo relays the complete story, including the origins of the restaurant arrangement, which was coordinated by Guest House volunteer, Dale Rhyan.
When I asked Aprahamian how it felt to see the news spreading so far and fast about their work, he had this to say:
"I think it's very encouraging. It's nice to see a positive story get picked up, compared to what else is out there. Also nice to see Dale [Rhyan] get the attention he deserves for putting the whole idea together and in motion. He's really doing a great thing."
And if that doesn't make you feel good, then I'm afraid your heart is made of stone.
In the spirit of this story – and the upcoming holiday season – I just want to raise my hat to all the Milwaukee chefs doing good in our city. Thank you for your passion, your spirit and your sense of community.
For more information on the Guest House of Milwaukee, visit guesthouseofmilwaukee.org.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.