giving kitchen Stories

Welcome to the Fight. 

Giving Kitchen’s story started with Ryan Hidinger and the fight to save one life. Now our story is the fight to serve thousands. Our goal is to share our best stories here, with the help of a team of writers, photographers and grant recipients. If you'd like to help with the next chapter of Giving Kitchen’s story, please contact Amanda Newsom at


Savoring the Now

Friends and colleagues help Ryan and Jen Hidinger realize their dream of opening a philanthropic restaurant. John Kessler tells their story. 

Story by John Kessler
Photos by Bob Andres

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Injury and illness. Death of an immediate family member. Housing crisis such as flood or fire.

When Giving Kitchen started, those were the only issues we addressed. The longer we spent time in the business of helping food service workers in crisis, the more frequently we asked, “Are we doing enough? What about drug abuse, suicide, mental health, financial stability, sustainability, harassment and other issues of self-care?”

At the same time, we discovered that we had a voice, that we have a platform. People listen to Giving Kitchen. As our platform grew, so did our confidence that we could tell stories vital to the health of our community, in an effort to raise awareness to issues of self-care. It is our honor to join a chorus of voices from around the country calling for a better food service community. Thank you for reading along, caring about Giving Kitchen and caring about the people who serve us every day.


Let’s Talk About It

Suicide, substance abuse and other mental illnesses in the food service industry one year after Anthony Bourdain’s death.

Story by Martha Polk
Illustrations by Bryn Rouse

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The performer

For Reggie, the restaurant floor was his stage, so when the curtains began to close, the Giving Kitchen ensured his story had a second act.

Story by Wyatt Williams
Photos by Andrew Thomas Lee

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