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Philly Chefs Are Auctioning Off Their Time to Raise Money for Groceries for Immigrant Workers

Want a one-on-one chat with Marc Vetri? Place a bid.

hands holding crate of groceries
Ask Chefs Anything is raising money to buy groceries for immigrant workers in Philly.

Forty-five Philly chefs, restaurant owners, and food writers are auctioning off their time to raise money to buy groceries for local immigrant communities though Ask Chefs Anything. The volunteer-led organization has already raised thousands of dollars in New York City and Los Angeles.

Through Ask Chefs Anything, people bid to claim 30-minute video chats with participants like Marc Vetri, Cristina Martinez, Joe Beddia, and Jennifer Carroll. They can spend that half hour talking about whatever they want: favorite recipes, cooking tips, the state of the industry (maybe a gripe or two, since this is Philly after all).

Gaeleen Quinn and Anna Polonsky, both consultants in the hospitality industry, started Ask Chefs Anything as a way to support undocumented workers who now find themselves without jobs and without access to unemployment benefits during the coronavirus-caused shutdown.

They’re working with national restaurant supplier Chefs’ Warehouse, which is selling Ask Chefs Anything deeply discounted groceries. The groceries will be distributed to 250 immigrant households in Philly through the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition, known as SEAMAAC. Ask Chefs Anything says that 100 percent of the money raised goes to buying the groceries.

La Colombe founder Todd Carmichael, High Street Hospitality Group’s Eli Kulp, and former Eagle Connor Barwin and Laura Barwin, who do philanthropic work through their Make the World Better foundation, are also signed on to participate.

Online bidding starts Wednesday, May 13, at 10 a.m. and ends Sunday, May 17, at 8 p.m. There’s a minimum bid of $100. Ask Chefs Anything heads to Miami, St. Louis, Dallas, and Chicago next.

Disclosure: Eater Philly editor Rachel Vigoda is participating in the Ask Chefs Anything auction.