Shake Shack Launches Chef Collaborations to Support Regional Food Nonprofits
The series will feature dishes from high-profile chefs across the country, including Dominique Crenn, JJ Johnson, Chris Shepherd, and more.
On Monday, Shake Shack announced a new series featuring menu collaborations with well-known chefs and restaurateurs around the country, including Dominique Crenn, JJ Johnson, Chris Shepherd, and Junghyun Park. Called "Now Serving: A Collab Series by Shake Shack," the line of menu items will donate proceeds to regional nonprofits that are supporting restaurant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The series kicks off on March 4 with Houston's Chris Shepherd, owner and executive chef of Underbelly Hospitality, who developed a sandwich with Shake Shack's culinary director Mark Rosati: the "Southern Smoke Chicken" features a crispy chicken breast, Shepherd's spicy bacon jam, pickled jalapeño mustard, cherry peppers, and shredded lettuce. Net proceeds from the sandwich will go toward Shepherd's Southern Smoke, a crisis relief nonprofit supporting people in the food and drink industry.
"This time last year, we had just hired our second full-time Southern Smoke employee, our director of case management. Little did she (and all of us!) know how important her job was about to become and how much things would change," Shepherd tells Food & Wine. "In March, when we realized restaurants were shutting down nationwide, we immediately went into high gear."
In April 2020 alone, the foundation granted over $1.1 million to food and beverage workers in crisis, and since the beginning of the pandemic the Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Fund has distributed over $4.7 million nationwide.
Rosati had flown to Houston before the pandemic to discuss a possible collaboration with Shepherd, which will finally come to fruition in the crispy chicken sandwich. Other chefs in the series include Pinky Cole of Slutty Vegan in Atlanta, Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, Junghyun Park of Atoboy and Atomix in New York, Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde in Chicago, and JJ Johnson of FieldTrip in New York.
Each limited-edition menu item will be available at Shake Shacks in the cities where the chefs have their restaurants.