Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit…Pounds and Pounds…1,000 Pounds of Beans - making 10,000 servings - are on their way from New Orleans to Washington, DC for Mardi Gras Day, Tuesday, February 16, 2021. The beans will feed unemployed hospitality industry workers and the staff of 25 restaurants who jumped in to help distribute the meals, New Orleans style!
The event founders are the co-chairs for the annual Mardi Gras Extravaganza celebration held in DC – celebrity chefs David Guas [native New Orleanian] of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery and Spike Mendelsohn, Spike’s sister, Micheline Mendelsohn of We The Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery, Gina Chersevani of Buffalo & Bergen – who most recently teamed up to feed the National Guard and First Responders during the Presidential Inauguration. This year, the team has enlisted chef Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto and the Power of 10 Initiative to put together a charitable event, spanning across the DMV. The BEAN-EFIT takes on the theme of Mardi Gras, throwing BEANS instead of BEADS to support unemployed restaurant workers in the surrounding neighborhoods of Washington, DC and Virginia.
On FAT TUESDAY [February 16, 2021] from 4PM-6PM the first 100 unemployed restaurant workers to visit any of the 25 participating restaurants will receive a bean dish for FREE. [see below]. Hook Hall will be distributing 100, one-pound Red Bean packages on Lundi Gras, the Monday before Mardi Gras. It’s a way of using the tradition of Mardi Gras when the entire city, as a community comes together, to celebrate eating and drinking. “These participating restaurants are a part of our DC restaurant family, and we know we have to do our part as a community to provide some relief as the federal funds are not there yet for those out of work. They need to know they have not been forgotten,” said Chef Guas of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery.
Camellia Brand - the oldest dried bean company in North America founded in New Orleans - has symbiotic ties to the Nation’s Capital, servicing several area restaurants and grocery stores. The bean company is donating enough dried beans [offering one of the 19 different types of beans] for restaurants to prepare a healthy bean dish to those needing a well-balanced meal. A variety of creative choices are offered to create unique dishes including a Black Bean sauced Vegetarian Pizza, a hearty mixed Bean Chili, Coconut Garbanzo, Yellow Curry, Rice Beans and Greens, White Bean Soup, and of course, the customary Red Beans & Rice. “Bringing the spirit of a New Orleans custom like Mardi Gras to DC - where we have many restaurants that use our beans - you cannot help but smile and enjoy the comradery during this holiday, which is something we all want to experience during this trying time,” said Vince Hayward of Camellia Brand beans.
The Restaurant Association of Metro Washington [RAMW] and the City of Washington, DC have jumped on board to contribute their time and efforts to bring this benefit for additional success. And S. Freedman & Sons jumped in to provide all the containers, napkins, forks and spoons, so restaurants could be spared that expense.