Mastrantos owner Mari Godoy, left, and executive chef Tony Castillo assemble boxes to be delivered to residents at a Heights apartment complex.

Image: Carla Gomez

Despite not being able to serve full capacity and, in turn, not making as much money as they usually might, restaurants and bars across the Houston area have been pitching in to help people affected by COVID-19. Mastrantos, a Heights restaurant specializing in innovative global flavors, has been among the most active in assisting the public.

Through a partnership with chef Jose Andres's World Central Kitchen in its #ChefsForAmerica initiative, Mastrantos has produced and delivered nearly 3,000 meals to residents of Heights House Apartments, a senior low-income apartment building subsidized by the federal Office of Housing and Urban Development.

"We are humbled to have the opportunity to serve our neighbors," Mastrantos executive chef Tony Castillo said in a release. "We are trying to go above and beyond in the creation of dishes for them. True to the restaurant’s nature, we’ve been incorporating fresh, delicious flavors from around the world into the required protein, starch or grain and vegetable format."

Mastrantos owner Xavier Godoy said he has been following the work of World Central Kitchen, which has been a leader in charitable work over the last 10 years. Andres's nonprofit was established in 2010 to feed people affected by the Haitian earthquake that killed roughly 250,000 people and left as much as $8.5 billion in damage. World Central Kitchen has responded to nearly every major global crisis since its founding, including working in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

Godoy said he applied Mastrantos to be a partner restaurant with WCK, earning an acceptance two weeks later. As part of the agreement, Mastrantos is producing at least 160 meals per day, working from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. using current staff, including a team member who was previously furloughed.

Initially Mastrantos was asked to participate for two weeks, but WCK isn't ending the relationship yet, so the restaurant will continue to cook and distribute until they're told not to. 

"We were born to serve and spoil people and we always have the desire to use our time in a meaningful way," Godoy said. 

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