COVID-19 has provided an incredible opportunity for growth in our world. This moment in history is not a moment to shrink, but to see what wasn’t working in our system and get rid of it. When we are lost and confused, we need to trace back our steps and correct what was wrong. At this time, we get to look back and find inspiration for how things can be better.

I received this wisdom from Pierre Thiam, a New York-based chef, author, restauranteur, social entrepreneur, and culinary ambassador. Pierre is best known for bringing West African cuisine to the global fine-dining world. He is also the Executive Chef and co-owner of Teranga, a fast-casual food chain from New York City.

I asked Pierre how he sees food and politics connected in the US. He answered by providing a tangible example of how his restaurant has gotten involved in their local community.

They are located in the African center in Harlem. During COVID, they were able to keep serving the community by selling food for delivery or pickup and later partnering with a nearby hospital to serve food to the first responders. They also realized that there were kids in Harlem who relied on their schools to feed them. Without school in session, these kids lived in shelters. So, Teranga became the place they went for food.

He also said, “the restaurant of COVID has to be a restaurant that really considers the situation and the community… for the community needs healing and food is an amazing way to bring that healing.”

I’m talking about these topics—and more about Chef Pierre’s origin story— in my weekly newsletter. I’m also sharing a video to help you think about your week ahead. You can sign up here.