As the partial federal government shutdown continues to leave some 800,000 government workers without pay, a celebrity chef is joining efforts to keep at least some of them fed.
Restaurateur Ming Tsai has been dishing out free dumplings from his Boston establishment “Blue Dragon” to workers affected by the closure, the longest in U.S. history.
“The idea to offer Shutdown Dumplings came from idea that the restaurant industry is one big family,” Tsai told HuffPost. “Shutdown Dumplings came to be because we wanted to give back to government employees affected by the shutdown in a way that we knew how ― through food.”
Tsai began serving the “shutdown dumplings” on Monday, offering them to any affected worker who presents a government ID at his restaurant.
He said he felt compelled to help out after seeing his friend, fellow chef José Andrés, offer similar services. Through his nonprofit World Central Kitchen, Andrés opened a resource center on Tuesday in Washington to provide furloughed workers with supplies such as diapers, as well as provide free financial and legal advice. The chef also opened an emergency pop-up kitchen to provide hot meals to the employees.
“If all of us chefs do a fraction of what José and World Central Kitchen has accomplished, the world will be a better place,” Tsai said. “In fact, WCK is trying to get all chefs in the USA to offer free food for these furloughed employees. I am blessed I have the capacity and team to do my small part.”