Chef Chris Shepherd with David Chang at the Southern Smoke festival in 2017.

Image: Emily Jaschke

The Southern Smoke Foundation announced this week that it has granted more than $1 million to food-and-beverage workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic since March 18, after Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo ordered all bars to fully shutter and restaurants to shut down dining rooms.

Specifically, 542 workers in the food-and-beverage industry had been awarded $1,032,320, as of the announcement Wednesday. Between March 18 and Wednesday, Southern Smoke had received more than 22,000 applications from workers across the country, including people in Austin, Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago.

Southern Smoke, which was founded by chef Chris Shepherd as an effort to fund hospitality workers needing emergency help, has received donations from entities like the Houston Texans Foundation and Tito's Handmade Vodka to aid in funding people. 


More updates from across the Houston food and drink scene:

The nonprofit Homemade Hope, which supports and empowers children living in homeless shelters through the culinary arts, will be hosting a virtual cooking class with chef Christine Ha at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Ha, chef of The Blind Goat at Bravery Chef Hall and the upcoming Xin Chao, will prepare a Thai-style laab salad over Zoom. Proceeds will go toward Homemade Hope and the Southern Smoke Foundation. Sign up here with a donation; a recipe is included.

In beer news, Lone Star has unveiled its first seasonal called Rio Jade, a Mexican-style lager. It should be available over the next week in stores across the state. Also, Lone Star is creating and selling t-shirts benefiting the Southern Smoke Foundation. Find the shirts here.

More beer news: This weekend, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild is hosting the Great Texas Beer Run. This social media campaign asks people, through Sunday, to get into their cars (if they want to) and drive to local craft breweries to pick up some beer to-go. Share your hauls on social media with the hashtag #GreatTexasBeerRun.

Also, Steak 48 is partnering Friday with Astros pitcher Ryan Pressly and ThrIVe Drip Spa to donate 50 meals to workers at Houston Methodist Hospital.

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