Our Story

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.

I can’t say I remember or was cognitively aware when TGK donated money to my “fund,” but I am extremely aware of all the financial adversities I did not had to deal with, simply because of good-hearted people like Jen and Ryan Hidinger. The Giving Kitchen was designed to help people like me.

Angela Riley, LEON’S Fullservice | 2013 Direct Grant Recipient