A letter from our Editor in Chief on how to help hospitality workers in crisis.
Food & Wine x Southern Smoke Foundation
Credit: Food & Wine / Southern Smoke Foundation

Dear reader,

I hope this note finds you well. For the past six weeks, our team at Food & Wine has been producing the magazine and daily stories and videos for foodandwine.com from our homes, while also figuring out how we can be of service to those in crisis.

From the F&W Best New Chef franchise to next-level recipes, restaurant coverage is the lifeblood of Food & Wine, and for 42 years, the country’s best chefs, sommeliers, and restaurateurs have become our community. This community that we love is suffering mightily right now. Thousands of small businesses won’t make payroll this week. Millions of employees who make up the $1 trillion food and beverage industry—from farmers, ranchers, and seafood suppliers to dishwashers, bartenders, and line cooks—remain out of work. Many restaurants won’t ever reopen.

Today, Food & Wine is partnering with Southern Smoke Foundation to help support those in the food and beverage industry across the country who have been impacted by the pandemic. Started by 2013 F&W Best New Chef Chris Shepherd, Southern Smoke is a national emergency relief fund that has distributed more than $1.1 million directly to people in need since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Last month, the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation began directing half of its donations to Southern Smoke because its application and vetting process prioritizes giving funds to those in most immediate need.

The organization has received more than 22,000 applications so far, and medical emergency cases take priority, says Shepherd. “People in our industry don’t ask for more than what they need.”

Food & Wine has made a $10,000 donation to Southern Smoke, and our team will use our print, digital, and social media platforms in the coming weeks to continue advocating for the industry. If you’re able to, please consider making a donation today.


Hunter Lewis

Editor in Chief, Food & Wine and F&W Pro