Chef Andrew Reflects on 2021 at MAKE Projects
2021 saw a tremendous amount challenges and change in our kitchen. We faced many of the same issues surrounding Covid that other food businesses, restaurants, and caterers faced all while undergoing our transition from the International Rescue Committee to MAKE Projects. From lockdowns to reopening we were constantly attempting to predict how best to serve both our customers and our refugee and immigrant participants. Flexibility and “thinking on our feet” were essential modes of operation as week to week and day to day we were confronted with new challenges. However, through it all we were able to have a lot of fun and continue to promote the cuisines of our participant community in interesting and unique ways.
We continued to grow and experiment with our Saturday Brunch Café which provided a safe outdoor eating space for our customers and allowed us to give our participants valuable, real world cooking experience. In the summer we received our new woodfire grill for our patio space which we have recently utilized as the main cooking instrument for the café during December. Not only does it provide a fun and interesting way to cook, but it also represents a way of cooking that is much more authentic to some of the cuisines which we explore. Many of our participants have felt right at home cooking over the fire!
This last year has also seen the slow return of special events and celebrations to our outdoor patio space. While doing our Global take home meals has been great, its definitely exciting to see and interact with our customers as this provides crucial opportunities for our participants to practice their speaking skills. As the country has begun to reopen we’ve had the pleasure of catering numerous events both on and offsite. This has allowed our participants to gain further experience as they staff each and every event, both in the front and back of house. With several events already on the books for next year hopefully this trend will continue!