For 21 years, the Detroit Free Press has named a Restaurant of the Year.
That annual tradition is taking a pause in 2021 as they instead turn their praise and attention to a dozen chefs and restaurant operators who expanded that defining spirit of hospitality in the first year of the pandemic -- by extending it to exhausted hospital workers, isolated seniors, the food insecure and front-line workers in their own hard-hit industry. So instead of Restaurant of the Year it’s been renamed to the Detroit Free Press/Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Food Fighters, a sampling of chefs and restaurateurs who used food to make a positive impact in their communities over the last year.
These chefs and restaurateurs were selected based on how they leveraged for using their culinary skills and connections to help do good in and for their communities during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it was donating food and time to feed thousands of our most vulnerable neighbors or using the power of their positions to light the way toward a more equitable business model. You’ll have to go to the Detroit Free Press website for the full list of winners, but I want to share the story of one with you. Ederique Goudia who is 39, co-owner of Gabriel Hall, a classroom facilitator, co-founder of the Detroit Food Academy, lead chef of Make Food Not Waste and owner of In the Business of Food among other things she does.
Why is she a Detroit Food Fighter? For Thanksgiving she and her team cooked and fed 5,000 residents of Detroit. For Christmas she upped the game and fed 6,000 hungry food insecure Detroiters. Her earliest food memory is waking up on Saturday and she and her older sister would make breakfast in bed for her parents. Toast, eggs and grits. And she was just 3 years old. Ederique and all the Detroit Food Fighters – congratulations – and thank you.