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CityBusiness Names 2021 Money Makers Honorees

Troy Gilbert Named CityBusiness “2021 Money Maker”

New Orleans City Business recently named Chef’s Brigade’s Executive Director Troy Gilbert as a “2021 MoneyMaker.” The award honors local professionals for financial achievements in their respective industries and their community impact. City Business was particularly impressed with Chef’s Brigade’s role in the New Orleans COVID meal plan program in which the brigade served more than 3.7 million meals to more than 24,000 New Orleans residents.

Upon hearing about the award, Gilbert pointed out that the award was really about the entire brigade, board and supporters.

“This began as an idea that jumped off and became an incredible enterprise made up of hundreds of people,” Gilbert said. “So I’m honored, but this really about the Chef’s Brigade organization.”

Chef's Brigade Executive Director Troy Gilbert

Full article from Edwin Smith at City Business

The story of Chef’s Brigade reaches back to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Troy Gilbert, executive director and co-founder, conceived the idea of putting local restaurants into a formation to feed EMS paramedics and office staff.

Chef’s Brigade became a reality last year, providing a beneficial service for restauranteurs, essential workers and food-insecure individuals as they struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “We crowdsourced funding. This was a total startup. The first meal was on March 26, and it took off like a rocket” Gilbert said.

 A little over a year later, Chef’s Brigade had pushed out about 2 million meals and helped its 85 restaurants retain or employ some 500 employees.

By May 2020, the $80,000 Chef’s Brigade had crowdfunded had all been spent.

 “The next month, the City of New Orleans and FEMA submitted a request for proposal, but the problem was we could not be reimbursed until 30 days or longer, and Chef’s Brigade didn’t even have a checking account,” Gilbert said. Chef’s Brigade wanted to feed up to 30,000 people a day and continue to pay its workers.

 “We were approached by Revolution Foods, and we built this huge coalition,” Gilbert said. Through an amalgamation of forces, Chef’s Brigade was able to scale up from feeding only first responders to the variety of groups it services today.

“We are starting now to pivot,” Gilbert said. “For restaurants, the financial health is definitely improving.”

 

Edwin Smith