SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – Perbacco in San Francisco’s Financial District is closed Saturday, but owner and chef Staffan Terje is busy. He’s packing 180 meals of duck breast with mole and rice on his own.
Terje is personally delivering them to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
“First and foremost it’s helping people that are on the frontline that are taking the brunt of this and working their behinds off, long shifts and also putting themselves at risk, so hopefully we can feed them and give them some good tasty food,” said Terje.
Perbacco is one of several San Francisco restaurants, now part of a nationwide network called Frontline Foods. The movement began as an idea among San Francisco friends, including emergency department nurse Sydney Gressel, at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
“We very much want restaurants to be in business and be thriving when we get through this difficult time, so as much as it’s a morale boost for us in the hospital, we also really want this level of support for the restaurant workers and for the chefs in this area,” said Gressel.
It started with small donations and one restaurant delivery. In one month, the operation has grown to reach 7 hospitals and 20,000 meals in San Francisco alone.
Frontline Foods has since expanded to 46 cities with countless volunteers, and raised more than $2 million. It has also partnered with World Central Kitchen, a global nonprofit.
One-hundred percent of donations go directly to local restaurants.
“Having income from Frontline Foods and also be able to help is tremendous for us,” said Terje.
Terje has gone from 113 employees to just three, between his two restaurants during the pandemic.
Often overwhelmed hospital staff say the opportunity to try some of San Francisco’s finest foods makes them smile.
“I can’t thank the community enough for this level of support,” said Gressel. “Just to be able to pour a little bit of good energy into something that makes such a direct difference, I think it’s incredible and it definitely boosts our spirits here in the hospital.”