The recent popularity of social media challenges has entertained many of those staying at home. For Deepanker Khosla, the executive chef of neo-Indian restaurant Haoma, these challenges were inspirational rather than entertaining. “Seeing all of these challenges, I decided to start #NoOneHungry. I challenged Chef Thep of Taan ... and Chef Ton of Le Du to share a picture of themselves serving meals to people that really need them so a lot of people can be inspired, and we can help eradicate hunger in these COVID-19 times,” the Indian-born chef reveals through Facebook.
Deepanker originally started #NoOneHungry out of compassion for his staffers at Haoma, most of whom are Burmese nationals. When the government imposed the emergency decree to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country, most businesses were forced to shut down. Restaurants were reduced to providing food for delivery or takeaway. Many workers, a huge percentage of which are migrants from neighboring countries, were left without jobs or were asked to take leave without pay. “These people have no savings. They have to send money to their families and they pay for rent. [For] food, which is the biggest and most important expense, I can help,” he adds.
According to Chef Deepanker, ensuring that these low-income migrant workers
still have a job is essential to salvaging Bangkok’s F&B industry, which has already been hit hard by the pandemic, as they have become a backbone to the Thai economy. “Laborers who are not Thai and are not on social security tend to get fired first in times of crisis. They usually have to return to their hometowns and will not come back once the industry opens again. They will not have confidence in the system that doesn’t support them.”
Taking cues from celebrity chef Jose Andres, whose World Central Kitchen initiative provides meals and shelter to victims of natural disasters in USA and beyond, Deepanker leads the Haoma team in making around 300 meals a day, each one cooked with immunity-boosting ingredients such as ginger, turmeric and ginseng. They distribute these meals to 15 distribution points in communities that are home to some of the poorest in Bangkok.
You can support Haoma’s #NoOneHungry project by donating via https://gogetfunding. com/noonehungry-haoma-bangkok/