We’ve all seen the headlines: More than 600 Connecticut restaurants have closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March. This week on Seasoned: A conversation with David Lehman, the state’s Commissioner of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and Scott Dolch, the head of the Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA). Plus, we check in with chefs and restaurant owners throughout the state. We ask them how the pandemic has impacted their restaurants, what the hardest part has been, and what they need right now. They also tell us what they’re hopeful about and proudest of. Not surprisingly, some themes emerged: customer support has been a lifeline, they’re finding ways to feed hungry people in their communities, and you’ve been ordering a lot of take-out comfort food.
Note: The first segment of the show includes our extended conversation with Scott Dolch and David Lehman. Dolch responds to an article published in the Hartford Courant about restaurants contributing to COVID clusters, which sparked controversy, and we talked about changes the state and the industry needs to make to improve the lives of restaurant workers.
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Robyn Doyon-Aitken and Catie Talarski produced this show.
David Lehman – Commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)
Scott Dolch – Executive Director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA)
Chris Torla – Chef and Managing Partner of Trumbull Kitchen in Hartford
Arturo Franco Camacho – Chef and Culinary Director for Geronimo in Fairfield and New Haven and Shell & Bones and Camacho Garage in New Haven
Chris Prosperi – Chef and co-owner of Metro Bis in Simsbury
Jillian Moskites – Chef and owner of Whey Station(ary) in Middletown and Whey Station Food Truck
Valdete Gjergjaj – Chef and owner of Nana’s Byrek & Pizza in Waterford
John Brennan – Chef and owner of Olives and Oil in Seymour and New Haven and Elm City Social in New Haven
John Tambascio – Co-owner of My Place and Tambascio’s Italian Grill in Newtown
Beca Tuinei – Chef and owner of Nala’s Kitchen in West Hartford
Stella Brown – Chef and owner of Stella’s African Eatery in Hartford
Photos were provided by chefs, unless otherwise noted.