Opening a restaurant is difficult under any circumstances, and Aaron Bludorn’s long-awaited eponymous restaurant opened in August 2020.
Still, he felt compelled to support his industry community and has partnered with Southern Smoke Foundation, which provides relief for hospitality workers, to showcase fellow chefs from around the country in collaboration dinners to benefit the foundation.
Chef de Cuisine Chase Voelz, who moved from Chicago to Houston for the opening, points out the added challenges to chefs working with covered faces and alcohol-doused surfaces.
“I think it’s beneficial to lift the veil on how many cooks had to adapt during the pandemic,” says Voelz. “We work in an industry that heavily relies on using our senses to work, and it was challenging to make sure that the food’s integrity, quality and flavor remained intact while maintaining enhanced safety protocols.”