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Edmonton restaurant pays it forward with free meals during pandemic
EDMONTON -- Indian Chef is a restaurant with a business model that seems able to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sign on the door says "Takeout Only" but the eatery also specializes in corporate and special event catering of theIr aromatic Indian curry dishes being created in the kitchen, and the fresh sweet desserts, neatly and colourfully tempting out front.
The restaurant has been open for little more than a year in the South Edmonton neighbourhood of Chappelle. And business has been good.
But the owners of Indian Chef know that many people are having a difficult time making ends meet right now. The general manager told CTV News Edmonton that once they heard about a few job losses in the neighbourhood, the decision was made.
“We’re just trying to put a meal on everybody's table. Trying to do what we can” said Manu Hollait
They started offering free meals to anyone who needs them on April 1.
“No questions will be asked. so this doesn’t mean it’s just for the less fortunate, this includes everybody, whether it’s front line workers, cashiers, anybody. Doesn’t matter what the situation is. You just need a break, you just come to us for a meal” Hollait added.
The restaurant has been getting between 10 and 20 requests for the free meals each day. Being contacted on social media, by text message and phone calls. The idea of paying it forward to the community that has supported the new restaurant is part the initiative, Hollait says Sikh’s are now observing Visakhi - the month long practice of giving to those in need - and while she says the need is real, the head chef tells CTV News that the generosity is spreading. Regulars who normally pick up orders for themselves are doing so for others.
“It’s a huge neighbourhood and the people do give us a hand to deliver the food to the people who need it” said Abhishek Mahajan.
Indian Chef is open 7 days a week.