In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, chefs and restaurants are doing their part to support the people (and pets) of Houston. 

Elisabeth Sherman
September 01, 2017

Hurricane Harvey has been a relentless source of damage and destruction in the past week. Families have lost their homes, often going without water and food, as they seek shelter. But in the midst of that chaos, chefs and restaurants have stepped in to provide meals for both the volunteers and victims of the hurricane, donating aid, cooking food, and providing support and compassion in the darkest of times for many citizens of Houston. Food & Wine reported on the first round of businesses to provide Harvey relief. This show of generosity has been one bright spot in an otherwise harrowing week. No doubt, as the consequences of this natural disaster continue to unfold, many more chefs and restaurants will step forward to do their part to feed and comfort those affected. Here are more food industry relief efforts we've seen this week:

John Besh

Courtesy of the John Besh Foundation

Yesterday, Chef John Besh, the man behind a renowned group of Louisiana restaurants, left New Orleans to “feed over 1,200 evacuees in Orange, TX,” but had to evacuate themselves once flood waters began to rise, according to a statement from the John Besh Foundation. As long conditions are safe, he and his team plan to travel to Houston on Saturday, where they hope to serve 10,000 more meals.

Whataburger

The burger chain, which has several locations in South Texas, has pledged  $1.65 million to Hurricane Harvey relief. Part of that money will go to the Whataburger Family Foundation, which will provide financial aid to employees affected by the flooding, according to Eater. $150,000 will go to the American Red Cross, while $500,000 will be donated to food banks along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Panda Express

At all Panda Express locations throughout the U.S., donation boxes will be set up until September 15, proceeds of which will be split between the American Red Cross and the Tzu Chi Foundation, a Buddhist humanitarian organization. The Panda Express restaurants that remain open have donated food to the Red Cross, the Texas Children’s Hospital in Katy, Texas, and food banks in the affected areas, according to a statement from the company. Employees who work at locations that have closed due to flooding will continue to be paid.

José Andrés

The D.C.-based chef flew to Dallas, and then drove to Houston by himself, according to the Washington Post, where he planned to head to shelters and feed as many people as he could. He stopped at a local Target, where he stocked up on pasta and tomato sauce. His World Central Kitchen was also recruiting volunteers with professional cooking experience to join him. Andrés says that he plans to stay in Houston until next week. “If I can feed one person, I’m happy,” he told the newspaper over the phone.

Empire Baking Company

On September 6, Dallas-based Empire Baking Company will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from that day's sales to the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Fogo de Chão

This Brazilian restaurant is offering any first responder—including police officers and fire fighters—free lunch or dinner at either of their Houston locations until September 15. They will also donate $10 from every adult entrée purchased to the Houston Food Bank on September 4, at every location nationwide. 

Rachael Ray

The celebrity chef, who makes her own line of high-end pet food, Nutrish, has announced that her foundation will donate $1 million to Texas-based animal welfare groups that are “actively working in Texas and Louisiana to care for animals.”