The LEE Initiative has fed more than 1 million out-of-work restaurant employees

The past 18 months have been challenging for restaurant owners as many employees were fired or furloughed with no idea when unemployment would come through. Chef Edward Lee was planning to open his fifth restaurant, Khora, when the pandemic shut everything down. And while he was still able to open in 2020, he says the challenges restaurants faced this past year are far from over.

The Top Chef judge recently spoke with Salon about being forced to pivot during the pandemic, his LEE Initiative that fed more than 1 million unemployed restaurant workers, and the supply chain issues that he — and other business owners — will face in the year to come.
 

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