By Erika E. Nelson | May 26, 2020
UF Sport Management alumnus and acclaimed chef Edouardo Jordan chose to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by feeding others currently out of work in the restaurant community in Seattle, Washington, where he is the owner of three restaurants: Salare, Junebaby and Lucinda Grain Bar. Many in the food service industry were already living paycheck to paycheck and, according to the National Restaurant Association, a staggering two-thirds of all U.S. restaurant employees have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. As restaurants close around the country two-fold solutions like Jordan’s, which not only provides meals to those who are out of work due to the pandemic, can also potentially help save once vibrant independent restaurants by pivoting toward a new aid-focused business model.
Chef Jordan and his team prepare more than 200 meals per day for the community.
Chef Jordan’s first restaurant, Salare, recently partnered with the Lee Initiative to begin a Community Kitchen which provides meals for free to those in the hospitality industry. “We have gathered enough donations and contributions from the community to extend the program's duration as well as expand to other neighborhood non-profits such as Solid Ground, Byrd Barr Place, and Northwest Harvest,” says Jordan. “We won’t turn away anyone who needs a meal.”
“Helping is a part of who I am, it's simple,” says Jordan. “I have been a person in need before and I understand the feeling of not knowing where your next meal is coming from, so I do what I can when I can.”
A lifelong athlete, Jordan joined the track and field team as soon as he started school at UF as a Sport Management undergraduate. “Sports have always been a part of my life--they kept me out of trouble, they kept me sane and active,” says Jordan. He credits Dean of Students, Mike Rollo, along with many of his teachers and fellow teammates for their guidance and help in cultivating his success at UF.
A recent 40 Gators Under 40 honoree and double winner at last year’s James Beard Awards, Jordan didn’t set out to become a chef until about a year after his graduation from UF when he made the decision to enroll at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando. Although his love of cooking really started as a child in his mother’s St. Petersburg, Florida kitchen. A traditional cook, Velda Jordan used resources like "Joy of Cooking" to teach him how to cook classic American favorites. The true spirit behind Jordan’s cooking came from his grandmother, Maggie Jordan, who illustrated to him the power of uniting people through cooking beautiful food.
Moving forward, Jordan is focused on how his restaurants will continue to adjust and make changes based around the health and safety of his staff, guests, and community. “These changes will be in place, and evolving, until we have a solution to the virus,” says Jordan. “We will have to navigate these new waters together with everyone supporting how they can.”
Be sure to check out Chef Jordan's recent profile in the Gator Nation News where he shares his zesty watermelon romesco salad recipe.