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Continued: Tevlin: Our generosity with for-profit restaurants knows no bounds

  • Article by: JON TEVLIN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 14, 2013 - 10:10 PM

Bizarre Foods Food TV star Andrew Zimmern said Travail’s success is a “sea change,” but acknowledged the next 10 restaurants to try it might fail.

Zimmern, who said giving to a restaurant and charity aren’t mutually exclusive, adds that the Travail chefs “have ferociously cultivated” a large group of “passionate acolytes” by offering an experience unlike any other. Customers “want to feel like it’s their clubhouse,” he said.

The restaurant industry isn’t the first to turn to Kickstarter. Millionaire movie stars like Spike Lee, Zach Braff, and even Sylvester Stallone have collected millions to fund movies. In which they star.

Back to the $250 to skip waiting in line, which Travail called part of “democratizing fine dining.” As our food critic Rick Nelson pointed out in Taste on Thursday, it’s exactly the opposite.

How is a donation to skip the wait different from stuffing money in the maître d’’s pocket?

“People pay extra to be treated special,” said Brown.

Wadi points out that the restaurant industry regularly contributes a lot to local charities. That’s a great point.

So, congratulations to Travail for some crazy genius.

But this is where my challenge comes in: Bertrand Weber, director of Culinary and Nutrition Services at the Minneapolis Public Schools, has assembled a council of chefs and caterers who want to transform the public school lunch in Minneapolis. They’ve already been giving advice and sharing recipes.

Starting in Oct. 16, restaurants will adopt four schools and begin raising money to install salad bars in them. Weber estimates it will cost about $40,000.

My hope is that anyone who cares about good food enough to give to Travail would also consider contributing to a plan to provide good food to school kids, too. They aren’t looking for “food Nirvana,” just a salad bar.

For more information, contact Weber at Bertrand.Weber@mpls.k12.mn.us or 612-668-2821. The list of participating restaurants, which will host a variety of fundraisers, can be found at bit.ly/TrueFoodMap.

jtevlin@startribune.com • 612-673-1702

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