Charlotte area chefs create Essential Kitchen geared towards first responders

Updated: Apr. 15, 2020 at 7:35 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Restaurants across Charlotte are having to get creative to make a profit, but some chefs are choosing to spend this difficult time cooking for others for free.

Nicolaus Daniels, executive chef partner of The Capital Grille, is the brain child behind Essential Kitchen. It’s a donation-based operation to cook and feed first responders in our area.

“These people are sacrificing their own health and they’re putting themselves at risk and they need our love and support," Daniels said.

He is working with Vic the Chili Man and Michael Bowling of Concord’s Hot Box to cook meals that will be delivered in boxes to first responders.

It takes a village.

“Drivers and helpers and delivery people and those who can’t do that, their roles become shooting us 5 bucks, shooting us 10 bucks," Vic the Chili Man said.

They spent Wednesday preparing dishes including a chef driven meal of stir fry and feed rice with meat, salad and fruit.

On Thursday they delivered to EMS and county fire departments. Next week they will deliver to CMPD and the following week to the Charlotte Fire Department.

One of their first stops included the Cooks Community Volunteer Fire Department.

“Here at the fire department we do our best for the community and the community returns it to us," Chris Brown, Assistant Chief of Cooks VFD, said. “We’re very thankful for anything and everything, the support.”

They are operating out of the kitchen at Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Charlotte.

“Part of what we want to do as a church is to make sure that we’re available for meeting needs in the community," Reverend Jonathan Coppedge-Henley said.

They are raising money with a starting goal of $3,000. To donate, click here.

According to their GoFundMe, “donations will go to producing these meals, and if response is strong enough pay furloughed workers to help distribute and prepare these meals.”

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