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Organizations: The Giving Kitchen

Ryan and Jen Hidinger are cooking up the ultimate comfort food in The Giving Kitch-en, a nonprofit foundation that offers financial assistance to hospitality industry workers who are in crisis.

The Hidingers were finalizing plans to open their own restaurant when Ryan was diagnosed with late-stage gallbladder cancer. While he continues to battle the disease, the outpouring of support from Atlanta’s restaurant community has inspired the couple to pursue their dream, but with a philanthropic mission: They organized The Giving Kitchen earlier this year with support from foodie friends, and it immediately began assisting servers and others in need. And this fund is expected to rise like artisanal dough in Feb-ruary when Staplehouse opens, a gourmet restaurant that will donate all of its after-tax proceeds to the foundation.

“So many people who work in restaurants lack health insurance, so if they break a bone or need medical treatment or suffer any sort of major, unanticipated setback, it can be especially devastating. Then other ex-penses begin to mount – rent, utilities, transportation costs,” says Ryan Hidinger, previously a sous chef at Muss & Turner’s in Smyrna.

“Kitchens are the beating heart of a community with people who put a lot of care into food and hospitality, so we want to help them the way they have helped us.”

Staplehouse, a farm-to-table affair that will be located in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, already has recruited some of Atlanta’s most esteemed chefs, including Ryan Smith, who most recently served as Executive Chef at Empire State South. “We also plan to name certain dishes after donors to honor them, on a seasonal basis,” says Jen Hidinger. “It will be a creative kitchen where everyone can enjoy themselves, with a purpose.”

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