Our Story

The Giving Kitchen’s mission is to provide crisis grants to members of Atlanta’s restaurant community facing unanticipated hardship.

We Serve Peace of Mind.

The Giving Kitchen grew out of a beyond-expectation response to the devastating, stage-four cancer diagnosis of Atlanta Chef Ryan Hidinger in December 2012. Ryan was well known in the Atlanta restaurant community for his work at Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, and Muss & Turner’s. And he and his wife, Jen, were beloved for the supper club called Staplehouse that they had been running for several years, as a build-up to starting their dream restaurant.

The response to Ryan’s diagnosis — initially from friends within the restaurant industry, and then quickly from an ever-expanding community across Atlanta — was an outpouring of love and financial support that would help with expenses not covered by insurance.

Jen has said that the outpouring gave Ryan a peace of mind that she believes extended his life by at least six months. The community’s beyond-expectation response to the Hidinger’s crisis moment set the intent, beliefs and values of The Giving Kitchen.

The intent of The Giving Kitchen is to be the beyond-expectation resource at times of unanticipated crisis for anyone employed in the Atlanta restaurant community.

Peace of mind that we are a stronger, beloved community is the outcome we hope to create.

The Giving Kitchen was formed as a 501(c)(3) to fill the need for a crisis grant program in the restaurant community — as a way to do for others what the community came together to do for Ryan and Jen Hidinger.

The organization provides emergency assistance grants to cover basic living expenses, care-related travel expenses, and funeral expenses for those who meet defined criteria.

To help ensure its own sustainability, The Giving Kitchen has a unique hybrid structure as a nonprofit with a for-profit subsidiary. The for-profit subsidiary is Staplehouse — a casual fine-dining restaurant currently under construction in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward with Chef Ryan Smith (formerly of Empire State South) at the helm. 100% of Staplehouse’s net profits will be channeled back to its nonprofit parent, as an ongoing stream of support.

What this means is that The Giving Kitchen has four strong sources of support:

++ Restaurants and their employees

++ Extended restaurant industry

++ Restaurant patrons

++ Staplehouse, a high-profile restaurant owned as a subsidiary

As a natural extension of the industry’s “DNA,” TGK embraces the opportunity to support its own while continuing to demonstrate that hospitality well-served has the capacity to multiply joy and minimize sorrow. Welcome aboard.

Download the TGK Case Statement
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