The restaurant industry was hit incredibly hard by the pandemic. In 2020, Add Passion and Stir connected with chefs to learn how the pandemic was affecting them. We’re revisiting these inspiring conversations to showcase the resilience of the restaurant industry and its commitment to service.

When we spoke with Amanda Cohen of NYC’s Dirt Candy in April 2020, the shutdown in New York City was only weeks old. Cohen said she and other chefs were struggling with reopening their restaurants after the crisis has passed. “How are we going to reopen? What am I reopening to? Who still has money to go out in this city? And who wants to go to a crowded restaurant?,” she asks. She has long been an outspoken advocate for fair restaurant industry practices. She is also a leader on eliminating tipping in her restaurant. Dirt Candy offers a starting hourly wage of $25/hour, as well as paid time off, paid sick leave, health insurance, and continuing education. “If we reopen the same way as we closed, we will have literally learned nothing,” she says.

 Click here to hear the original interview with Amanda Cohen. []

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