Chef Rick Bayless to speak at Notre Dame on the future of the restaurant industry

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SOUTH BEND — Award Winning Chef Rick Bayless will visit the Notre Dame University on Thursday, April 28, for a cooking demonstration to students and later discussing the future of the restaurant industry.

Bayless – which is known for championing independent restaurants, winning Bravo’s Top Chef Masters and establish its award-winning restaurants Frontera Grill and Toplobampo in Chicago – will speak as part of the university’s “Visiting Chef” series.

At 12:30 p.m., students and members of the campus community can visit Bayless at North dining room, where there will be a book distribution and a cooking demonstration. The event is not open to the public.

At 2 p.m., Bayless will next discuss “Wellness and Sustainability: The Future of the Restaurant Industry” at the Carey Auditorium in the Hesburgh Library. This event will be open to the public.

► Also speaking at ND:Condoleezza Rice will speak about Ukraine and college athletics at Notre Dame on Thursday

In an interview with The Tribune, Bayless spoke about the impact the coronavirus pandemic continues to have on independent restaurants, an industry he says contributes “massively to the fabric of our community.”

“I know the general population wants to think we’re post-pandemic now, but I’ll tell you, those of us who are still trying to get through this, we’re not off the hook,” he said. he declared. mentioned. “Anyhow.”

Dwight Miller prepares a takeout order Thursday at Crooked Ewe Brewery and Ale House in South Bend.

Bayless points to economic impacts such as inflation costs and staffing that affect restaurants on a daily basis and says it expects further fallout over the next six to eight months as many restaurants take on debt. during the pandemic and cannot simply pay them back.

“We used to have basic formulas that we kept in mind for how to price things and what the ratio was between labor and cost of goods. … (But now) we we’re all trying to find a new balance,” he said. “And we had something that we’ve been working with for a long time, but now we have to figure it out, and it’s like building the plane while we’re flying it. And we don’t know where we’re going to end up.”

Bayless said he is currently working with the Independent Restaurant Coalition by calling on Congress to fill the Restaurant Revitalization Fundwhich provides emergency funding to businesses impacted by COVID, to ensure the survival of independent restaurants and bars, especially minority-owned ones.

“(It) will be a salvation for so many restaurants and it will mean they will stay in business,” he said. “As we talked about, I’m a big champion of independent restaurants because I think they really positively add to the fabric of neighborhoods, and I want to see those places survive. And get money for this new form of program relief to restaurants is really going to make sure that.”

More information about visiting Bayless can be found at uee.nd.edu/home/chefbayless.

Contact Mary Shown at 574-235-6244 and mshown@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter: @maryshownSBT and @marketbasketSBT.

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