As Seattle’s hospitality industry scrambles to adjust to a new reality, one Beacon Hill spot has decided to take on a charitable approach. The popular Filipino restaurant Musang announced Tuesday that it will become a “community kitchen,” preparing food for people in need, especially children and families whose regular meals may have been affected by schools shutting down.
Two months after officially opening, Musang is in limbo just like every other restaurant and bar across the city, as Gov. Jay Inslee mandated that dining rooms across the state close, allowing only for takeout and delivery. This past weekend, before Inslee’s announcement, chef Melissa Miranda launched a makeshift takeout program at Musang. By all accounts, it drew plenty of orders. But by Sunday, the chef realized that it wasn’t adequately addressing public health concerns over COVID-19. “There was still a lot of foot traffic, and we have staff who live with their parents and grandparents,” Miranda tells Eater Seattle. “I had to ask, ‘How close to home will this get?’”
Now, the restaurant’s kitchen will make meals for kids lacking school lunches, inspired in part by renowned chef Jose Andres’s humanitarian efforts. On the restaurant’s Instagram account, Miranda is asking for programs that serve families in need to reach out with meal requests, and has set up a Venmo (@melmir) for those who want to donate. Proceeds will go to the programs the Musang kitchen serves, relief for the staff, and relief for Seattle’s hospitality industry.
Miranda says she will make sure that the new project still adheres to social distancing guidelines, setting up no-contact curbside pickup. And if anybody on her staff feels uncomfortable working in close quarters, it’ll be just her and her sous chef in the kitchen, should it come to that.
The chef also sees the effort as an opportunity to educate people on healthy food choices, and build something from the ground up. Realistically, Miranda doesn’t know what Musang will look like one, two, or even three months from now, whenever conditions are clear to open the restaurant back up. So right now, the focus is solely on serving the community.
“Without community, Musang wouldn’t exist,” she says. “So we have to live what we preach.”
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Mel here. I’m focusing my efforts on re-activating our kitchen to prepare meals for those in need; specifically families who are affected by the interruption in school meals and those in the service industry who are affected by business closures. Please reach out to me via phone, email, or official Musang pages DM (instagram + facebook) if you or someone you know is experiencing food insecurity. — firstname.lastname@example.org (206)708-6871 [today til 8p; 12-5p starting tmrw] — please swipe to see more info; we’re also collecting donations via venmo to set up relief funds. If you’d like to contact us on behalf of an org/program, be prepared to answer a few intake questions. Holler if you’d like to help in these efforts. We will work to answer inquiries by the end of the business day, and start providing food tomorrow.