Chicago chefs band together to make soups to benefit immigrant groups

Since President Donald Trump signed restrictive executive orders on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries a few short weeks ago, many Americans have expressed their dismay, frustration and anger through a series of protests and demonstrations. Likewise, area restaurants have picked up the cause, signing onto a “sanctuary restaurant” movement protecting targeted groups, donating food to attorneys volunteering legal aid to travelers, or banding together to raise funds for numerous charities.

Bruce Sherman, chef and partner of Lincoln Park’s North Pond, joins the latter group, helming a new effort to signal support for immigrant communities. After Trump signed his executive order, Sherman was on the phone with many of his fellow chefs and restaurateurs to get Solidarity Soup off the ground.

“Immigrants are the backbones of our restaurants and our communities,” said Sherman over the phone. “With the EO, they were suddenly singled out.”

On its website, Solidarity Soup declares, “we commit to standing with immigrant communities in the fight to protect their dignity and human rights; their presence among us makes us stronger.” The group of high-profile chefs — Rick Bayless, Phillip Foss, Stephanie Izard, Jason Hammel, Carrie Nahabedian, Matthias Merges and many more — reads like a who’s who of Chicago dining culture.

“I reached out to everyone and asked ‘are you interested,’” said Sherman. “There wasn’t even a discussion about it — it’s so obviously the right thing to do.”

Through the sale of soups created by each chef, Solidarity Soup hopes to raise money for three local organizations, which deal specifically with immigrant populations — Centro Romero, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos and Organized Communities Against Deportations.

“I spent some time doing some research on the appropriate kind of work in the area of immigration,” said Sherman. “There are a ton of nonprofits in Chicago, and these seemed like a good place to start to address needs of immigrants.”

By Joseph Hernandez for Chicago Tribune
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