Photo Credit: Beau Monde Originals Photography
How These Black Chefs Are Fighting Food Insecurity In The Philadelphia Area
In honor of Black History Month, Everybody Eats, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing food security and building community, celebrated the grand opening of its new Chester, PA home on February 5. Originally launched in June 2020 by a group of Black chefs with the mission of nourishing hungry people and leading the community in the fight against hunger, Everybody Eats came to be during a time of social unrest in their city of Philadelphia.
“We are a team of Black chefs that are local to the area and visit neighborhoods that we are from to spread love and awareness. Initially, we just wanted to help one specific neighborhood, on one day, but quickly realized there was a huge need for food security in our city and others,” said co-founder Stephanie Willis, who also owns and operates The Perfect Catch.
Together with co-founders Aziza Young, a private chef for Philadelphia professional NBA and NFL athletes; Kurt Evans, a chef and activist who uses food as a vehicle to talk about mass incarceration and systemic racism; Gregory Headen, Executive Chef for Lifeworks Restaurant Group; and nationally-known private chef Malik Ali, Willis is bringing fresh, quality food to underserved neighborhoods.
“We believe that access to fresh and healthy food is a basic human right! A lot of our plight as a culture is systemic and dates back generations. We are less likely to graduate from high school, gain a marketable skill, complete post secondary education, get a ‘good’ paying job, and live above the poverty line. All of this starts at home and through the nourishment of our children. Families often find themselves in a precarious situation where they have to choose between paying a bill and feeding their family.”
That’s where Everybody Eats comes in. Having started with community food giveaways, the organization now has a home in Chester’s Vittles Food Hall.
“Essentially, it is one restaurant with several different concepts; tacos, soul food, salads, pizzas, burgers and such, as well as seafood. Our menu will change seasonally to provide the most fresh and affordable selections.”
Proceeds from the restaurant will be put back into the community and used to help fund food giveaways. In addition, the chefs are partnering with local schools with the hopes of providing training and employment opportunities for the youth.
“We plan to mentor, train, and prayerfully hire some students from Chester High School as well as the STEM schools in the area. Our goal is to continue to motivate and inspire young people of color that are interested in the culinary field that ANYTHING is possible!”
So, the next time you find yourself in the Philly area, be sure to stop by Vittles Food Hall (801 Sproul Street in Chester, PA) to enjoy some amazing fresh food and support the Everybody Eats cause. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“You can definitely expect our community fridge outside of our facility that will be fully stocked with fresh produce and prepared meals, as well as a small library attached, which we hope will be well received! We also are committed to hosting givebacks around the city with local organizations.”
“We value and embrace diversity, fairness and inclusion as fundamental to our vision of empowering communities where no one has to go hungry. We believe that access to healthy food is a basic human right and not a privilege. All people deserve regular, nutritious meals. We are committed to conducting honest dialogue with all community partners. Through this dialogue, we will strive to continuously improve. EVERYBODY EATS!”