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Quaker Common Threads

When she was 8, Eliana de Las Casas posted her first video online. It was the first step in her taking the cooking world by storm.

Eliana grew up in a home where food was a favorite pastime. Family gatherings were centered around the kitchen, and she loved being a part of that. And with grandparents from the Philippines, Cuba, and Honduras — as well as Louisiana, where she lives — there was a lot of good cooking happening.

At around 4 years old, Eliana begged her mom to let her help out with meals.

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Courtesy of Chef El-Amin
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When non-essential businesses in NYC were ordered to close in March, restaurants across the five boroughs were tasked to pivot fast or risk shuttering their doors for good.

The impact on the city's once vibrant restaurant scene was immediate and devastating. A national survey found that 250,000 people were laid off within 22 days and almost $2 billion in revenue was lost. And soon, numerous restaurant closures became permanent as the pandemic raged on and businesses were unable to keep up with rent and utility payments.

Hot Bread Kitchen, a New York City-based nonprofit and incubator that has assisted more than 275 local businesses in the food industry, knew they needed to support their affiliated businesses in a new light to navigate the financial complexities of shifting business models and applying for loans.

According to Hot Bread Kitchen's CEO Shaolee Sen, shortly after the shutdown began, a third of restaurant workers that they support had been laid off and another third were furloughed.

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