Last Monday was a garbage day for the hospitality industry. They'd been holding on by their collective fingertips for a year: laying off and rehiring employees, making costly renovations to their spaces, scrambling to convert any available space into a "patio" and then finding some way to heat it. And then, with no notice, the edict from Victoria: no indoor dining for at least three weeks.
People were understandably upset. Not only did hospitality folks not have advanced warning (which would have been helpful when ordering perishables), but no one has provided them or the rest of the public with any figures as to why this tough action was needed. As an industry, they believe they have been wildly compliant with everything that has been asked of them. So if the Province has determined that the rug absolutely has to be pulled out from under them, they have, at bare minimum, earned the right to be given clear reasons why. It was a respect thing.
The reaction was swift: many took to social media in understandable anger, some just slunk in defeat, many were just unbelievably sad. But then in the sea of chaos, 24 words on Instagram:
If you're out of work
and need a hand
please let me know.
I'm happy to share
a delicious curry.
Please don't hesitate.
The author was Shiva Reddy, well-known for her stints at Boulevard, Como and until last Summer, Savio Volpe. Like many of her industry cohorts, COVID has been tricky for her. She had to step away from Savio to care for her immuno-compromised mother. What she didn't mention in her post was that she was set to start work again that week at Barbara, a tiny, ambitious spot on East Pender that opened mid-pandemic. And obviously, that job no longer existed in the near term.
So she made curry. A lot. The first batch was Aloo Bagan with potatoes and eggplant and was, not surprisingly, a hit. She took a breath—received some food and tool donations from her thoughtful friends and hit the kitchen again with round two. Her mom started helping out and the portions increased. Round three was even bigger. Masala is coming.
It obviously struck a chord. The goodness helped many process feelings of anger, resentment and helplessness, because, you know, curry. And people started to want to pay, so she said sure. Pay and I'll use the money to buy more groceries to feed more industry people. It's awesome. Does it move the needle on the hardship the industry is facing? Admittedly, probably only a small amount. But does it show how generosity and goodness can help deal with the trauma the industry has faced—we're going with yes on this one.
So why not be part of it? Here's how (in Shiva's words)
Today is prep day(masala time)
The project which I'm going to call 'Reddy to Help' (because I mean when you're last name is Reddy and you love puns you just have to!)
Reddy to help, was born after the BC government suddenly shutdown indoor dining without notice. This either significantly reduced pay, forced restaurant owners to lay off employees and even worse has caused many restaurants to completely shutdown. The livelihood of many are now in jeopardy. Restaurant workers were already working with reduced hours and wages and struggling.
To have no support offered by the BC Government after such a roll out is absolutely appalling especially for one of BC's largest industries.
Restaurant workers need help.
Help me feed those in our industry that are struggling to make ends meet. People should not be forced to choose between groceries and rent.
Please donate (groceries, containers, money) to help my project 'Reddy to Help' which has tripled in orders overnight.
You can e-transfer me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me.
If you or anyone you know need a hand, please don't hesitate, I'm Reddy to Help.
So, to our valued readers, might we ask you to consider bucking up? And while you're at it—takeout. Get takeout. Anyplace is good, but those with no patios or heretofore non-existent takeout programs are the ones who are reeling.