Minnesota Central Kitchen announced Surly Brewing Co. as its newest partner in the effort to address growing demand for food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Surly Brewing is the fifth local organization to sign-on as a KitchenPartner, opening its doors to Minnesota Central Kitchen and transforming space in the kitchen of its Minneapolis restaurant to prepare up to 4,000 meals weekly that will be delivered and served at hunger-relief organizations in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
As a result of the public health crisis related to COVID-19, demand for food assistance in Minnesota has tripled since February. Minnesota Central Kitchen continues to innovate alongside corporate, restaurant, and hunger-relief partners to add kitchen and workforce capacity to transform rescued produce and ingredients into ready-to-eat meals. To date, MCK has provided 306,200 meals – an average of over 40,000 meals each week.
“I continue to be amazed by the support Minnesota Central Kitchen has received from local businesses and Minnesotans as we continue to respond to hunger relief in our community,” says Allison O’Toole, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland. “The generosity and support from an iconic, Minnesota-grown brand like Surly will help us continue to drive awareness and secure resourcing we need to meet our goals. We’re incredibly grateful they have joined this effort.”
Surly Brewing’s partnership adds critical capacity for preparing meals to meet the growing demand for food. The culinary team at Surly – under the guidance of Executive Chef Ben Peine – are leveraging their skillset to craft and prepare high-quality, healthy, ready-to-eat meals. The meals prepared by Surly will be served at three locations: The Dignity Center in Minneapolis on Tuesdays, The Sanneh Foundation in St. Paul on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the Pillsbury United Communities Brian Coyle Neighborhood Center in Minneapolis on Fridays. Meals provided by Minnesota Central Kitchen are available daily at over 50 locations across the Twin Cities.
“Feeding our community has always been core to our team at Surly, in good times and in times of need,” said Ben Peine, Executive Chef at Surly. “Becoming a partner kitchen with Minnesota Central Kitchen not only presented us with an opportunity to bring back furloughed members of our culinary team but gave them a creative outlet to try new meals and support sustainability in the food supply chain. Each week, we think of the ingredients like a Chopped Challenge, where we take ingredients that would otherwise be going to waste and turn them into comforting, nourishing meals.”
In addition to providing meals to those in need, Minnesota Central Kitchen is putting cooks, chefs, caterers and other food industry personnel back to work. Partnerships like those with Surly, help to employee over 100 people a day at five kitchen locations.
Minnesota Central Kitchen prioritizes recovery as it sources food and ingredients needed for its ready-to eat meals, and has rescued 554,482 pounds of food so far.
Commercial kitchens with food to donate are encouraged to register on www.mealconnect.org or contact Second Harvest Heartland’s food rescue emerging streams developer Dianne Wortz at [email protected]. Restaurants interested in donating their kitchens, teams and talent should contact Chowgirls at [email protected].
To make a donation and learn more about becoming a KitchenPartner, visit 2harvest.org/mncentralkitchen