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Stepping up to the plate

Local News 08 Apr, 2020 Follow News

Luciano di Risi

Chef Thushara hard at work

Chef Thushara and volunteers ready to feed Cayman's tourism industry

By Lindsey Turnbull


With tourism industry workers feeling the extreme hardship of necessary business closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Wharf and Grand Old House restaurants (which are under the same ownership) are currently providing some easing for industry workers in the form of daily meals.

The initiative, started by the restaurants’ Operations Manager Luciano di Risi, is called Supporting Each Other and gives tourism workers who have lost their jobs and income a daily meal.

Luciano came up with the slogan which speaks to the heart of this initiative: ‘We cannot help everyone but everyone can help someone’.

The restaurants’ Guest Relationship manager Dunja Yeap explained how people can get food: “Tourism industry people severely impacted by closures can email info@wharf.ky for this service, which will operate while funds last. Interested people will receive a questionnaire back which they need to complete so that we can ascertain their eligibility.”

Responding to customers and other partners who had contacted the restaurants, asking how they could donate to the cause, the restaurants say people can also use that email and also info@grandoldhouse.com to donate funds.

“We can only operate this service while we have the funding to do so, so we really need everyone who is able to, to donate funds to us directly or donate to the local distributors, such as Progressive, Uncle Clem’s and Cayman Distributors on behalf of the programme,” Dunja advised. “While we would greatly appreciate direct donations of food, we cannot accept fresh produce for hygiene reasons, though if people have canned goods or bags of rice, we should be able to accept those. But it would be far better to donate financially or through the distributors, so we know that food items have been properly stored.”

The restaurants’ executive chefs Thushara and Christian are both working with a team of volunteers to prepare meals for people every day. The staff wear protective masks and gloves, people keep their distance and queues are well-managed, Dunja said.

“We are currently working on a week by week basis but we are getting increasing numbers of messages from people who are desperate for food. We cannot feed everyone and have to prioritise those most in need, so we would greatly appreciate donations, however big or small to help us feed people in these desperate times,” Dunja stated.

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