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#AskChefsAnything is hosting chats with chefs to raise money for Beirut

Michael Solomonov of Zahav is among the chefs participating in 30-minute virtual chats.

Michael Solomonov, a chef and an owner of K'Far, an Israeli cafe at 110 S. 19th St.
Michael Solomonov, a chef and an owner of K'Far, an Israeli cafe at 110 S. 19th St.Read moreMICHAEL KLEIN / Staff

If you’ve ever had questions for chefs Mike Solomonov and Nina Compton, now’s your chance.

#AskChefsAnythingBeirut is auctioning 30-minute virtual chats with more than 100 chefs and food personalities from around the world through Sept. 13 to benefit people affected by the explosion at the Port of Beirut that killed at least 200 people.

The initiative includes renowned restaurateurs and food media personalities, including Rene Redzepi of Noma, cookbook author Anissa Helou, and those with Philly ties like James Beard Award-winner Zach Engel, who spent time at Zahav.

“Right now is some of the hardest times I’ve ever experienced since starting in the restaurant industry 10 years ago,” said Engel, the executive chef and owner of Galit in Chicago.

“What’s really wonderful about #AskChefsAnything is it’s really they’re not asking for money or food or anything like that. It’s literally for you as a chef to become humanized to spend a little bit of your time and connect on a very real level with another person in order to benefit others.”

All the proceeds from the auction will go to Beit el Baraka — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to repairing homes, offering medical counsel, and restoring essential stores. The founder of the organization, Maya Ibrachimah, also will use the proceeds to buy meals from a community kitchen run by Lebanese restaurateur and hotelier Kamal Mouzawak.

The conversations will be hosted on Payments will be processed through PayPal.

The explosion, which occurred Aug. 4 at a warehouse at the Beirut port, has resulted in mass homelessness and the destruction of local shops and an estimated $5 billion in damages.

#AskChefsAnything was founded in April by Gaeleen Quinn and Anna Polonsky to support immigrant restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Since its launch, the organization has raised over $180,000 and provided 165,000 meals for people in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, St. Louis, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Nashville, and Houston. #AskChefsAnythingBeirut marks the organization’s first international effort.