Today is New York's primary elections. And though the presidential candidates of both parties are virtually decided, there are still many important local elections being held with a lot at stake as well as delegates for the taking. Two chefs, Luciana Lamboy (who's cooked in restaurants and worked as a personal chef to documentarian Michael Moore, along with food styling and recipe development jobs) and Terence Harvey (a longtime farmer who eventually moved to NYC to work in restaurant kitchens), launched a catering pop-up earlier during the pandemic called Lockdown Kitchen. But today, they are using their cooking for the greater good, incentivizing people to vote—no matter who they vote for—by offering 15% off of today's menu to those with a sticker. Pick-up for food items will be at Erv's on Beekman in Prospect Lefferts Gardens (2122 Beekman Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11225); lunch items are available from 11-3pm and dinner is offered from 4-8pm (polling booths close at 9pm).
"As sad as this time has been, with the loss of life and death seeming to loom at every corner—it has also been extremely empowering. There has been this feeling of collective consciousness and awakening and as two people of color, myself a woman and Terence, identifying as a gay man—we feel it is extremely, extremely, extremely important for people who share our voices and our experiences to have seats at the table or in turn to have the capability to build their own. And that starts with the knowledge and power of voting," says Lamboy. "Voting is as American as fried chicken and it is time for all our voices to be heard and that starts at the local and primary level. Obviously, if someone comes to the pop-up with a voting sticker, we don’t know who they voted for and it doesn’t matter. In this trying but empowering time we just want folks to exercise their American born right to be heard. And we felt food was a great incentive to do so. Our talents lie in the kitchen and we thought we could use food to help change the world."
The lunch menu includes items such as a summer harvest bowl with a grapefruit vinaigrette and apricots, a turkey sandwich with a cornbread stuffing and lemon aioli and a veggie Cubano with a side of plantain chips. Come nighttime, the dinner offerings include fried green tomatoes, a veggie burger made with chickpeas and sweet potatoes as well as a coconut rum cake.
This election cycle has seen more voters opting to to receive absentee ballots as fears surrounding the safety of waiting on lines to vote during the pandemic swelled. Governor Cuomo announced that this election cycle, which had already been pushed back from April, those fearful of contracting the virus at the poll booths would be able to vote with a mail-in ballot. Some, however, have claimed that they have not received their absentee ballots yet, and with so many people already feeling disenfranchised by the other crises at hand, this could potentially mean low voter turnout at the polls, making Lockdown Kitchen's intentions even more important this election cycle.