Detroit mom-and-pop restaurants, forced to close due to coronavirus, now cook meals for homeless

Chef Maxcel Hardy moves boxes of perishable food donated to the "Too Many Cooks in The Kitchen For Good" program.

(CNN)Behind the headlines of poverty and grit, Detroit has sprouted a surprisingly vibrant food scene.

"We're known for Motown and cars and manufacturing. But in the last three years, there has definitely been a culinary boom," said David Rudolph, a public relations representative for several local eateries.
Then the coronavirus came, hitting the Motor City especially hard. Restaurants closed their doors, but not their hearts.
    Five Detroit chefs took stock of their kitchens, pooled their perishables and started cooking up creations for the city's homeless and food-insecure.
    They call their program Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen for Good, and with additional food donations, they are preparing meals for three homeless shelters.
    Genevieve Vang of Bangkok 96 Street Food and Maxcel Hardy of Coop Caribbean Fusion discuss plans for the day's menu.

    A city of foodies who want to help

    On March 21, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered bars, restaurants, and other businesses to stay closed through at least April 13; it was devastating news for family-owned restaurants like Coop Caribbean Fusion.
    "I think the week before we closed, the business was down 30%," chef Maxcel Hardy told CNN."To already have that valley, then a shutdown, it's really tough to bounce back from that."
    His kitchen at Coop Caribbean Fusion was full of food that would spoil over time.
    "I didn't want to see that product go to waste," he said.
    First, Hardy began distributing food to his staff.
    Hardy, of Coop Caribbean Fusion, and Stephanie Byrd from Flood's Bar and Grille, with food to serve to Detroit's homeless.
    "They were out of a job and didn't have anything but the last paycheck," he said.
    But there was still plenty of food left over in his restaurant and in other commercial kitchens across Detroit.
    So he linked up with four other restauranteurs to create an eclectic program. In addition to his Caribbean fusion, Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen For Good has a Thai influence from chef Genevieve Vang at Bangkok 96 Street Food. There's also a particular flavor courtesy of restauranteurs Ron Bartell at Kuzzo's Chicken and Waffles, and Stephanie Byrd of Flood's Bar and Grille and The Block. Phil Jones from the Detroit catering collective, Ma Haru, is working the phones, keeping the supply of food coming.

    Chefs get creative

    All of the chefs are flexing their creativity and skills to craft meals from the hodgepodge of perishable items that come their way.