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Programs & Initiatives

As a non-profit organization and coalition encompassing 85 independent New Orleans restaurants (and growing) and indirectly connected to another 75, the Chefs Brigade Programs and Initiatives are dedicated to serving and assisting our beloved restaurant industry as they persevere through the economic hardships arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and to fighting food insecurity found in every neighborhood within our city and region. Further, by building relationships and partnerships with purveyors, farmers, the Louisiana fishing industry, and environmental organizations specifically dedicated to saving our waterways and preserving the seafood bounty of coastal Louisiana, Chefs Brigade is building out unique initiatives, programs, and emergency grants to help rebuild the entire food chain from farm to table.

 

Founded in March of 2020, Chefs Brigade has accomplished a heck of a lot… but we’re only just getting started.

 

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Feeding our First Responders

Chefs Brigade has never forgotten our roots of helping to take care of the people who keep us safe.

In partnership with the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation‘s “Feed a Cop” program, Chefs Brigade is committed and will continue to commit financial resources to providing meals to the men and women of the New Orleans Police Departments and Emergency Medical Services by utilizing neighborhood restaurants in this endeavor. To date, Chefs Brigade has allocated $27,000 to this worthwhile effort.

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Oyster Shell Recycling Program

In partnership with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL), Chefs Brigade is committed to the health of our coastal marshes, bayous and bays, and regenerating the once enormous bounty of seafood that came from our waterways. 

By committing financial resources to CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program, Chefs Brigade is assisting many of our still struggling restaurant partners to participate in this program by utilizing once discarded oyster shells from their raw oyster bars and charbroiled dishes and turning the shells back into the waters from whence they came.  These recycled shells are repurposed to build new oyster reefs, breeding habitats and slow the effects of coastal erosion in endangered fishing grounds, including sacred sites for the First Nation Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe.

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Chefs on Boats

Chefs on Boats is a first-of-its-kind program that takes chefs, line cooks, front of house managers and culinary students on an expedition into the Louisiana march with coastal scientists and fisheries experts for first-hand experience and education on the perils facing the Louisiana coast and seafood industry.

This program provides a real world platform for chefs, cooks, oyster shuckers, culinary students, scientists and Louisiana’s fishermen and women to interact and learn from each other on how the restaurant industry intersects with water quality, coastal restoration and sustainable fisheries – and then implement changes and solutions.

This is an opportunity to connect two fields that rarely have the chance to collaborate.

To make an impact with individuals, especially culinary students, who may currently or one day be in a position to make responsible decisions regarding waste, chemicals and recyclable materials within restaurants, and to help educate our city’s culinary ambassadors on Louisiana’s waterways, their bounty and how to support and encourage sustainable fisheries.

While fielding overtures from corporate sponsors and new partner’s, Chefs on Boats has been quietly running soft open expeditions since September of 2021 and to date have brought over 100 chefs, line cooks and other culinary staff into the marshes on these expeditions.

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Hurricane Disaster Relief

Hurricanes in the northern Gulf have become more frequent and powerful.

During the operation of the unprecedented FEMA and City of New Orleans COVID-19 Meal Assistance Program, the New Orleans metro area experienced the threat of five named storms that struck Louisiana, including a direct hit on the city by Hurricane Zeta, a Category 2 storm. The threat and landfalls of these tropical storms and hurricanes forced our coalition and 90 restaurant partners to rapidly develop systems and procedures to continue to provide meals to recipients, or worst case, to shut down and then reboot what had become the world’s largest home delivered disaster meal operation in history.

These experiences, plus the hard earned knowledge from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Ida 2021, and other storms, have provided chefs brigade and our partner restaurants a highly specialized skill set and how to feed thousands in a disaster’s aftermath.

The Northern Coast of the Gulf of Mexico is out domain. A 5-state long coastline where devastated areas can be found left unreachable except by boat or airlift, and without power for weeks or even months at a stretch. When enabled, the brigade system has demonstrated the food production bandwidth and logistical flexibility to handle and scale up for virtually any conceivable future crises.

In order to fulfill the promise of the brigade disaster response system, Chefs Brigade is bringing together the expertise and designing the equipment to complete the “last mile” distribution system.

To be designed and manufactured in New Orleans, this project will blend the unique knowledge base and technologies from the biggest industries in Southeast Louisiana together – restaurants, seafood, maritime, oil and gas, and now, disaster relief.

It will be Louisiana Made – Louisiana Proud.