“I know what it’s like not to know where your next meal is coming from.”

Soup kitchen chefs prepare over 1,000 meals for hungry New Yorkers every day

As any chef can attest to, preparing and serving meals that are nutritious, tasty and will have diners leave with a smile on their face is a tall order. For our soup kitchen chefs, this is the challenge they take on every week day of the year, serving over 1,000 meals in only two hours.

Having chefs who will meet this challenge means not only employing those who are skilled in the kitchen but who have a passion and a drive to help those in need. That’s just one of the reasons why we partner with the Doe Fund, recruiting graduates from their Culinary Training school – a part of their successful Ready Willing and Able Program.

The program helps end devastating cycles of homelessness, incarceration and addiction and the fact that our chefs have experienced many of the issues that soup kitchen guests face adds an extra ingredient into each meal. One of our chefs Carlton explains it: “I know what it is to be hungry and homeless. I know what it’s like not knowing where your next meal is coming from. I’ve been in their shoes, so I know how important it is to serve a delicious, healthy, and filling meal. I like my job because at the end of each day, I feel fulfilled knowing I made a difference by helping someone who’s hungry.”

Once a year, soup kitchen chefs cook alongside some of New York’s leading culinary talent at our annual benefit, From Farm to Tray, where their food will be sampled by celebrities, foodies and leaders from all walks of life.

But the next morning, despite a late night, the soup kitchen chefs will be here at 6 a.m, to create and serve the most important meals of all: the meals that hundreds of New Yorkers rely on to get them through the day.