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3 Merida chefs join forces to bring food to the people

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Three Merida chefs work together to create meals for hungry people during the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: Cocineros Unidos Yucatan

Merida, Yucatan — Three chefs, forced to close their businesses, have joined forces to focus their energy on their new customers: people left hungry amid the coronavirus crisis.

David Cetina, of La Tradicion in Alcalá Martín; Alejandro Herrera, of La Nostra Cucina in Emiliano Zapata Norte; and Gerardo Llaca, who runs the Cuisine G culinary workshops, have already delivered 300 meals to Yucatan’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Our passion is cooking and we do it with a lot of love for the people who have been most affected,” said Cetina, who, along with his colleagues, spent the last month walking the streets of the city delivering dishes left and right.

The trio has formed Cocineros Unidos Yucatan — United Cooks of Yucatan — and have cooked together, packed their meals into takeout containers, and trucked them to High Specialty Medical Units (UMAE), the Agustín O’Horán public hospital and to the Hogar de Ángeles, where children with cancer are cared for. They have also combed the streets of poorest neighborhoods in Mérida, especially in the south.

Likewise, they responded to a call from the La Divina Providencia shelter, which has an ample kitchen, and were provided with 40 kilos of egg, rice and beans to prepare their food.

As cooks, the project brings great satisfaction during these trying times, said Cetina.

“There are people who have nothing to eat and these foods are a light of hope for them. The most gratifying thing is to see their happy faces when they are supported,” he added. “As human beings it is something invaluable, because we are doing what we like the most and we bring them something indispensable, such as food for the day.”

Cetina’s restaurant businesses has collapsed, for now, but he’s still paying his staff because 80 families depend on paychecks from La Tradicion, which serves straight-up Yucatecan cuisine.

“It has been very difficult. Personally I have seen the need to apply for bank loans to guarantee my payroll, taxes, Social Security and electrical energy; however, the restaurant is closed,” he said.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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