The Lee Initiative’s Restaurant Workers Relief Program Expands Nationally

March 23, 2020

Program to provide assistance to furloughed restaurant workers expands to multiple cities  

(LOUISVILLE, KY; March 23, 2020) In response to massive layoffs in the hospitality industry due to the COVID-19 outbreak nationwide, Chef Edward Lee, in partnership with The LEE Initiative and Maker’s Mark, launched The Restaurant Workers Relief Program. This program started on Tuesday, March 17 out of the catering kitchen of Lee’s restaurant, 610 Magnolia, and was able to serve over 400 individuals in the restaurant industry who had recently become unemployed. 

The overwhelming response from the community inspired other chefs around the country to create similar programs, working directly with The LEE Initiative and Maker’s Mark. Restaurant workers must bring in proof of recent employment (paystubs will suffice) and will receive hot meals, toiletries, cleaning supplies, diapers, formula, personal hygiene items, and more. Times, days and exact details vary between relief centers. 

Most of these relief centers are funded for the next two weeks but are hoping to be able to stay open longer with donations via These relief centers include: 


Chef Edward Lee at 610 Magnolia 

Washington, DC

Chef Edward Lee at Succotash


Chef Jose Salazar at Mita’s 

Los Angeles

Chef Nancy Silverton at Chi Spacca


Chef Paul Kahan at Big Star


Chef Edouardo Jordan at Salare


Chef Alon Shaya at Safta


Chef Greg Braxtrom at Olmsted and Nate Adler at Gertie’s


Chefs Ouita Michel and Samantha Fore at Great Bagel Bakery

New Orleans 

Chef Donald Link at Cochon


Chef Linton Hopkins at Restaurant Eugene

For more information on the relief efforts, please follow The LEE Initiative on social media . For details on each chef’s relief center, including addresses, days and times of operation, and more, please visit their individual social media pages, linked above. 

About Chef Edward Lee

Chef Edward Lee is the chef/owner of 610 Magnolia, The Wine Studio, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, KY and culinary director for Succotash in National Harbor, MD and in DC.  He has received multiple finalist nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Southeast. He appears frequently in print and television and was recently nominated for a daytime Emmy for his role as host of the Emmy-winning series, Mind of Chef on PBS.  Lee won a James Beard Foundation Award for Writing for his book Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting Pot Cuisine (Artisan Books, April 2018).  He also authored Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen (Artisan Books, May 2013). His documentary film, Fermented, follows him around the world as he explores the rich culinary and cultural traditions of fermented food. For more information on Chef Edward Lee, please follow him on Twitter or Instagram or visit 

About Maker’s Mark® Bourbon

In 1953, in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr., fulfilled his dream to create a handmade and delicious bourbon. He decided to make his whisky in small batches, using soft red winter wheat to enhance the softness and sweetness. He then rotated each barrel by hand for consistency, and finally, aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr., transformed bourbon from a “commodity” into a premium handmade spirit, and today Maker’s Mark® continues to make its bourbon the same way. In recent years, Maker’s Mark has introduced thoughtful, super-premium innovations to its portfolio including Maker’s Mark 46™  Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength, and Maker’s Mark Private Select®, the brand’s first-ever custom barrel program. In 1980, the Maker’s Mark distillery became the first distillery in America to be designated a National Historic Landmark and has also been decreed as the “world’s oldest operating bourbon whiskey distillery” by Guinness World Records. It remains one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. For more information, visit  


Maker’s Mark®, Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength and Maker’s Mark 46™ Bourbon Whisky, 45-57% Alc./Vol.

©2020 Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc., Loretto, KY.


Collis Hillebrand 

Wagstaff Worldwide


[email protected]

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly