SONOMA, Calif. - At Ramekins Culinary School, Events and Inn in Sonoma, professional chefs are trying to do their part to help people who have been through a lot these past few weeks—from power outages to evacuations.
"This is our opportunity to give back to the needy. Those who have been out of a job for a week, who haven't had food in the fridge," said general manager David Daniel.
They prepared a pre-Halloween dinner of marinated chicken for about 250 people in Sonoma, many of whom lost power from Saturday until Thursday.
Hannah Hedley is the pastry chef. "Today I made pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting for Halloween and a chocolate cake with raspberry blood," she said. She said it feels good to help.
"We're really happy to provide some needs to people who have had a rough couple of weeks and this town has had a rough couple of years with all the fires," Hedley said.
To keep operating during the blackouts and to keep massive amounts of food from spoiling, Ramekins bought three back-up power generators in the past few weeks. They worked. Their business kept going.
The food was loaded up and delivered to clients of nearby La Luz, a family service center that helps connect those in need with social services and job training.
"This is one way of saying community come to La Luz and get a warm meal. Maybe you haven't had a warm meal in a couple of days," said Juan Hernandez, La Luz executive director.
It's been an anxiety-ridden, frustrating and scary time for much of Sonoma County. Entire communities have been in danger and many evacuated. Almost everybody lost electricity.
A relaxing meal is not only a welcome relief, but perhaps a sense that maybe a beleaguered community can start getting back to normal.
"Here in Sonoma it is like floods or fires. Flood or fires. So this is a really resilient community," said Hernandez.