HEARD... The word that is bellowed from behind the line in practically every professional kitchen across the country. It's the American equivalent to the French "Oui Chef" whose very utterance symbolizes the teams respect to the Chef and acknowledgement of what is needed. Simply put, it means you understand and will do that which is being asked of you without question or hesitation.
Today, its meaning resonates beyond the kitchen walls in a way that could never have been imagined. HEARD lets the world know that we are listening to the those who struggle, we understand the issues they face and we will actively work towards making a positive change. Be it for our industry or our society as a whole, HEARD is now our declaration of support and our call to action. Show the world that those voices of change are HEARD and that we will come together, as a team, as a brigade and as a community to do whatever it takes to bring about that change, TOGETHER.
From its inception, Chef George Mandakas had woven charity and community involvement into the very fabric of Chef Metal Jewelry's mission. One day, inspired by the words of fellow Chef, Ming Tsai, inspiration took hold and this new and meaningful HEARD wristband was created. Then, after an unassuming post of the single word hammered into a simple piece of metal, emotions were stirred, thoughts were provoked and ideas were shared. HEARD became the inspiration to act and take the first steps towards the creation of our Initiative to openly recognize the barriers that so many of our industry's Black and Indigenous Chefs, Restaurateurs and Kitchen Workers face each day. We asked ourselves, what can we do to promote anti-racism, how can we help eradicate the damaging narrow mindedness that has held back so many of our culinary family members from achieving their goals and finally, how can we empower them to make their aspirations come alive. We believe that through the HEARD INITIATIVE, we can inspire the community to listen, understand, acknowledge then ACT to create a far better reality and brighter future for us all. This is the start of the HEARD Initiative.
Not only is he the founding partner of Chef Metal Jewelry, but the once Genetic and Molecular Toxicologist turned Chef, George Mandakas, has been recognized in the culinary community for his balanced and responsible use of modernist techniques while maintaining respect to traditional cuisine. Heavily focused on the promotion of healthy Mediterranean lifestyle recipes, he proudly lends his passionate support to the development of responsible and renewable food systems in the areas of sustainable agriculture and fisheries, with most recently being appointed to the Culinary Advisory Board of Forever Oceans.
Most of all, George is driven by philanthropy and is heavily involved in many community-based partnerships in support of culinary relief, food rescue and meal distribution. These organizations include Storm Chefs (Founder of this Culinary Relief Group in response to Super Storm Sandy), City Harvest NYC, American Cancer Society, NJ Foodshed Alliance, The Manna House, Project Self Sufficiency, Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen and the Borden Avenue Homeless Veterans Shelter. Chef George is thrilled to add The HEARD Initiative to his ever-growing list of causes.
Ming Tsai is the James Beard Award-winning chef/owner of Blue Dragon in Massachusetts and his latest venture BABA at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana. An Emmy Award-winner, Ming hosts PBS-TV's Simply Ming, now in its seventeenth season. Ming is the author of five cookbooks: Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai, Simply Ming, Ming's Master Recipes, Simply Ming One-Pot Meals and Simply Ming In Your Kitchen. Ming supports many charities including Family Reach, a non-profit whose mission is to provide financial relief and support to families fighting cancer, of which he is currently the Chairman of the National Advisory Board. Chef Tsai’s latest project MingsBings, are gluten-free and allergen friendly vegetable filled patties and launch this fall. For more visit www.ming.com
The voices of change and of those in need are calling out from all across the land. Large parts of our society, especially those in our industry that have been disempowered by racism, are suffering and need our support.
Together, Chef Metal Jewelry, renowned Chef Ming Tsai and the James Beard Foundation are proud to introduce the HEARD INITIATIVE. With the current duality of this oft-used kitchen response, HEARD has become the symbol of understanding, of action and of empowerment for those struggling to overcome the forces of racism. With the purchase of one of our HEARD INITIATIVE wristbands, Chef Metal Jewelry will donate 100% of the profits to show your support of a new F&B Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Chefs. By joining our mission, you will help educate and enhance opportunities for our struggling culinary family. This new and important fund will directly support Black and Indigenous Culinarians for the betterment of both their businesses and their careers in the culinary arts. Please join us today and let them know that we stand with them together, we believe in the need to be anti-racist and that their call for change is truly HEARD.
The James Beard Foundation is a national non-profit organization committed to celebrating, nurturing, and honoring chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. As part of this commitment, we feel a responsibility to recognize and uplift all members of our industry, especially those whose contributions have been historically minimized. We recognize that we as a Foundation have contributed to upholding systems of oppression, especially in the food world, and know it is time for us to take intentional and aggressive action to help create a more equitable industry for communities that are disproportionately impacted by systemic racism.
In acknowledgement of the immeasurable contribution that the Black and Indigenous American communities have made to the modern American foodscape, the Foundation is launching The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans to provide financial resources for food or beverage businesses that are majority-owned by Black or Indigenous individuals. These grants are part of our Open for Good campaign, launched in April to rebuild an independent restaurant industry that is stronger, more equitable, more sustainable, and more resilient when it re-opens post-COVID-19. This new Fund is part of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to continually lift up the Black and Indigenous business owners in our industry, not just in light of the pandemic, but for good.