Detroit chef earns recognition for feeding those in need amid COVID pandemic
DETROIT – For 50 years, Chef Phil Jones has been cooking and feeding those in need in upscale restaurants.
The coronavirus pandemic changed his world in ways he couldn’t imagine.
March 13, 2021: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 607,437; The death toll now at 15,774
“This is the exact anniversary of the day my whole world went down,” said Jones.
In March 2020, Friday the 13th, COVID took away Jones’ catering business and cooking classes.
“I lost a year of income overnight and was in a panic,” said Jones. “I had to do something.”
Despite his own hardship, Jones focused on those who couldn’t put food on the table. In the early days of home ordering, restaurants had plenty of food but no customers to serve.
“They have thousands of pounds of products to try to get into the community,” Jones recalls. “A friend of mine called and he had a free chicken worth sandwich made ready to go.”
So Jones partnered with the nonprofit Food Rescue US and began giving away thousands of pounds of chicken.
“All of these wonderful people come to TCF to load trucks and cars and vans and trailers,” Jones recalls. “And these people who lined up to feed their communities.”
Food was being dropped off across Metro Detroit – churches, animal shelters, and even animal rescues.
“When I see someone happy, it makes me happy as opposed to someone who is desperate,” said Jones. “So, you know, just to be selfish, I want to help people because I want a better day for myself.”
Jones has worked in elite restaurants, with celebrity chefs, and in communal kitchens. His desire to give back during a pandemic led the Detroit Free Press to name him Boss of the Year in 2021.
“I am humble,” said Jones. “I want our young people to understand how noble it is to be a cook, to be a cook, to feed our community with nutrients and to help people grow. This is a wonderful thing, and it is a great place to be to be as human. “
Jones’ latest venture is a healthy meal distribution company called Farmacy Food. He hopes vending machines that offer affordable fresh food can compete with fast food. For more information, please visit the official website here.
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