The #koalamafia snaps into action in kitchens and dining rooms across the country.

By Oset Babür and Melanie Hansche
Updated January 17, 2020
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Credit: Ray Kachatorian

Here’s what we’ve learned from the countless bake sales from Los Angeles to New York City to fundraise for reproductive rights and immigration reform: when the hospitality community gets a whiff of turmoil, it heads to the kitchen to do something about it.

With recent bushfires causing devastation across Australia, chefs and restaurateurs in the United States are fundraising to support farmers, residents, and wildlife that have been impacted. One of those chefs is Curtis Stone, whose Michelin-starred Los Angeles restaurant, Maude, is donating 100% of profits from its current menu to Drought Angels, an organization that supports farmers who have lost their homes and livelihoods. “I was home from the week before Christmas. I landed in Sydney and the fires were 150 kilometers from the city, and you couldn’t see three cars in front of you for the smoke,” Stone says. “It was like this apocalyptic thing. You think they’re probably only showing the worst images [in the media], but it’s really real. It’s traveling at 100 kilometers an hour, it’s a fire that travels faster than a car.”

Stone is far from being the only chef raising awareness for climate change while sending help back home to Australia. Below, we’ve compiled a list of other American businesses that are holding fundraisers, and we'll keep updating it as we find more.

Boston

Samuel Jackson, the Aussie owner of Boston’s KO Catering & Pies has banded together with other local restaurants and chefs (including former F&W People’s Choice Best New Chef Jamie Bissonnette) to host the Boston Barbie for Bushfire Support on January 28.

At Sofra, chef Maura Kilpatrick will host a bake sale on January 26th to help raise funds for wildlife safety and rehabilitation.

Los Angeles

On January 26, the Aussie founders of L.A. based E.P. & L.P. Grant Smillie and David Combes, will be donating 100 percent of proceeds from lunch and their Great Aussie BBQ to relief efforts.

New York City

Last week, Aussie-owned upscale coffee chain Bluestone Lane donated all profits from their 48 locations in the U.S to the bushfire appeal. On January 26th (Australia Day; a national holiday Down Under), they are holding ticketed events at eight of their locations including New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington D.C. Proceeds from all ticket sales, raffles and auctions will be donated to the appeal. Says Bluestone Lane’s founder and CEO Nick Stone: “It’s just heartbreaking seeing my homeland in so much pain. All of our teammates feel compelled to help support families and animals impacted by this catastrophic disaster. Our entire company has been mobilized to raise funds and awareness in support of the Australian bushfire appeal, giving back to our first home.”

Not strictly Australian, but they just might become honorary citizens after this, a NYC chef supergroup led by Melissa Rodriguez of Del Posto will host a multi-course dinner, donating 100% of ticket sales to raise money for the bushfire recovery efforts. The event on January 30 will feature Victoria Blamey of Gotham Bar & Grill, Renata Ameni of Crown Shy, Laetitia Rouabah of Benoit, Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn, Christina Tosi of Milk Bar, Eunjo Park of Momofuku Kāwi, Ariel Arce of Tokyo Record Bar, Stephanie Prida of Major Food Group, Laura Maniec of Corkbuzz Wine, Pascaline Lepeltier of Racines, Jordan Salcito of Momolongplay.

Australian café Hole in the Wall in New York City is throwing an Australia Day bash on 1/26 with all funds raised via a raffle and silent auction going to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.

Aussie-run restaurants Banter, Good Thanks, Sonny Boy and Two Hands in New York City joined forces for an event last Friday that raised $24,000.

Sydney-import Bourke St Bakery in New York City teamed up with our fave plant-based cookbook authors, Aussie expats Hetty McKinnon and Amy Chaplin to host an event last Saturday. They also have an online auction you can access here.

This week, all profits from Boundless Plains Espresso in NYC’s financial district will go to the Bushfire appeal.

This weekend, People's Wine Bar is donating 20% of proceeds of Australian wines purchased at the shop and 100% of proceeds of their special bolognese jaffles at the bar to Red Cross Australia.

New Jersey

Upscale restaurant Common Lot run by Aussie expats in New Jersey is holding a fundraising dinner on January 26th.

Pennsylvania

Tucker in Easton, PA (owned by Food & Wine’s very own resident Aussie, Deputy Editor Melanie Hansche) is holding a benefit this Sunday, Pies & Pavlovas.