As firefighters in Northern California’s wine country race to contain the devastating Kincade Fire that has ripped through more than 76,000 acres and destroyed 86 homes, a group of well-known Bay Area chefs have come together to feed the thousands of displaced evacuees and first responders.
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri, who is known in Sonoma County for his restaurants Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s, both of which are now closed, joined forces with Food Network star Tyler Florence, Jardinière owner Traci Des Jardins and the non-profit World Central Kitchen, an organization created by celebrity chef José Andrés'.
Together they are working to feed thousands of evacuees and first responders at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, according to a tweet from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who visited the fairgrounds Monday.
This is not the first time the group has volunteered in the event of a Northern California wildfire. In 2018, the group rallied about 100 chefs and 800 other volunteers to cook and serve Thanksgiving dinner for victims and first responders in the deadly Camp Fire that leveled the town of Paradise, killing dozens of people and taking out much of the town.
Also in 2018, Fieri and Andrés re-activated #ChefsForCalifornia, which responded to the Thomas Fire in 2017, and gathered a group to feed thousands of meals to evacuees and first responders in the Carr Fire that killed seven people and leveled more than 700 homes in Shasta County.
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In 2017, Fieri himself, who lived in Santa Rosa, was forced to evacuate when the Tubbs Fire destroyed the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa. Yet, the "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" star still volunteered, serving thousands of meals per day.
"With these fires, and the evacuations and with all the people that have lost their homes, we're feeding over 5,000 people a day," Fieri said in 2017. "Anybody who needs food at this time in this area."
Florence tweeted on Sunday that they had served nearly 6,000 meals, and made a call for volunteers. “DM me if you want to volunteer anytime this week,” the tweet read. “We would prefer kitchen experience, but if you have a strong back and can handle a knife, we’ll take you.”
An Instagram post on Tuesday from World Central kitchen said that a relief team also visited the Cloverdale Airport to provide meals of pulled pork, black-eyed peas and collard greens over dirty rice to Cal Fire’s Helitack crew of over 150 women and men.
According to its website, where people can also sign up to volunteer, World Central Kitchen is committed to providing food and disaster relief to communities around the world. Founded in 2010, the organization reports that it has responded to recent emergencies across 12 communities including Mozambique, Haiti, Tijuana and California. The website states that in Puerto Rico it provided a whopping 3.7 million meals after Hurricane Maria.
“Wherever there is a fight so that hungry people may eat, we will be there,” the slogan on WCK’s website reads.