Our national hunger crisis is staggering. According to Feeding America, over 48 million Americans are living in food-insecure households. New York Chef Chris Santos sees the struggle daily around the city and is on a mission to help end hunger every chance he gets. “It would feel completely irresponsible of me with how fortunate I have been in my life to not give back,” says the owner of Manhattan hotspot, The Stanton Social.

Cooking for a cause

As part of The Food Council with City Harvest, which helps feed nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers facing hunger each year, Santos says he’s touched by the community of chefs that work year-round to raise money, organize events and take time to spend with those less fortunate.

“‘It always astounds and amazes me how much people are willing to pay to give back to their community.’”

“I often donate at-home dinners for charities to auction off. It’s one day that I get to go and cook at someone’s home and get to hang out with them and their guests,” he shares. “It always astounds and amazes me how much people are willing to pay to give back to their community.”

The power of food

Even his time on “Chopped” has impacted his view of those in need. Santos recalls a contestant who had, at one point, been homeless: “Through the kindness of people and chefs in his community, he would get meals at homeless shelters. Later down the road when he was back on his feet, he worked in the kitchens of those shelters. It was there that he learned his craft. Fast forward a few years and he competed in ‘Chopped’ and proceeded to be successful in his career. This re-instilled my desire to give back in any way I could.”

Still, we have a long way to go in the journey to end hunger, which Santos says comes down to agricultural and food sustainability. “We are so wasteful with food. If everyone could be more mindful of how much they order so nothing goes unused that would help provide more for everybody everywhere.”