Two Texas Cookbooks Help Austin's Restaurants and Food Banks
A tale of two recipe books
With the hospitality industry continuing to struggle during COVID-19, creative endeavors are popping up to benefit restaurants and their employees. Dallas resident Nadia Mashar launched an initiative to help struggling restaurants and local food banks with a digital book, United We Cook, featuring restaurant recipes from 37 U.S. cities representing 24 states – including Austin's Intero. And the local branch of R/GA launched another digital recipe book, Austin Table, featuring 55 pages of hand-selected recipes from Austin favorites like Sway, Güero's, Il Brutto, and The Roosevelt Room.
Mashar, who owns her own small investment banking firm and identifies "not [as] a writer, just a concerned citizen," said, "When the lockdown took place I saw some restaurants closing down and some getting creative (i.e. cooking shows, selling groceries, etc.). Had some conversations with some of the restaurants and it was a bit heartbreaking to hear their stories, seeing their life's work evaporating in front of them. So I wanted to do my part to help them. There is only so much takeout you can do (without putting on the pounds). I wanted to do something on a bigger scale to help and that's how I came up with the idea. I thought it is especially suitable now that everyone is indoors and [has] a lot more time to spend with their loved ones and cooking."
The content in United We Cook ranges from award-winning fine dining spots to small "mom and pop" cafes. Nine Texas restaurants are participating, including local Italian restaurant Intero, which focuses on creating elegant seasonal fare in a zero food waste kitchen, plus a gourmet chocolate menu. Executive Chef Ian Thurwachter and his wife, Intero's co-owner/chocolatier/pastry chef Krystal Craig, shared their restaurant's recipe for charred cabbage in the book.
About the process of rounding up all these recipes, Mashar said, "I wanted to have restaurants from all 50 states but I started reaching out to Texas restaurants first. Some were too overloaded in trying to pivot their businesses. So it was just a matter of having those who understood what I am trying to do and had the time to provide their recipes. It was very well received and all appreciated what I was trying to do. Intero was actually one of the first restaurants to join and eagerly provided their recipes as they appreciated the cause behind the initiative."
All of the proceeds from the book will go to participating restaurants and local food banks (from participating restaurants' cities). She said, "50% of the proceeds will go to participating restaurants (divided equally) and the other half will go to food banks in cities from which the participating restaurants come from. So [here in Austin] a share will go to Central Texas Food Bank." You can buy a downloadable copy at www.unitedwecook.org.
Also last week, global advertising and marketing company R/GA teamed up with Visit Austin to launch another initiative aimed at helping the restaurants we love. The Austin charity cookbook, Austin Table: Recipes From Beloved Austin Restaurants, is offered as both a digital download and a physical copy, and serves as "a simple reminder of what makes Austin and its culture so special."
"Our local restaurants and bars are at the heart of what makes Austin, and we wanted to do something to help them through this hard time. Coming together with Visit Austin has given the cookbook such great visibility and speaks to the love so many have for this city," said R/GA Austin Executive Strategy Director Elizabeth Thompson. "We hope this effort inspires people to remake and share some of their favorite drink and food recipes to rally behind Austin's hospitality community."
Austin Table spotlights 24 beloved food and cocktail recipes for craft cocktails, dips, main courses, and more, with 100% of proceeds benefiting the featured establishments. "Austin Table is the perfect complement to our Visit Austin From Home campaign – a collection of virtual content and experiences designed to keep Austin top-of-mind and inspire future visitors. We're thrilled to know that these iconic recipes will be enjoyed in the homes of Austin fans all over the world. Especially during these times, we are proud to support local businesses and our hospitality industry partners," said Visit Austin's Director of Marketing Tiffany Kerr.
All local, some of the restaurants included are Hopdoddy, Il Brutto, La Condesa, Micklethwait, Mongers, and Lick. Erica Anderson, sales director and event coordinator for Burro Cheese Kitchen (who contributed a dessert recipe), said, "Austin goes above and beyond for its community; we are a family and we have learned this now more than ever. When times are difficult, we all pull together to uplift and encourage those around us." And Güero's (they shared a salsa recipe) co-owner Bette Lippincott added, "We are excited for the cookbook because we love sharing the recipes we love, with the community that we love! We can't wait to see all the other awesome recipes that are going to be alongside ours!"
The cookbook can be purchased and downloaded from Visit Austin's online store at www.austin-online-store.myshopify.com. Please see Chronicle Cooking for a special recipe featured in the book.
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