The Giving Kitchen: A Case for Support     view online | download

Savoring the Now: AJC Article 

Brief Summary

The Giving Kitchen’s mission is to provide crisis grants to members of Atlanta’s hospitality community facing unanticipated hardship.  Founded in 2013 as a 501©(3) tax exempt organization, The Giving Kitchen (TGK) expects to make its first grants by the end of 2014. 

As unique as its mission, TGK’s origin is a compelling testimony of the caring, generous nature  of Atlanta’s restaurant community. TGK was inspired by the outpouring of support generated  when Atlanta chef Ryan Hidinger was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in December of  2012. Industry workers and others know Ryan through his restaurant work history including  Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, Muss & Turner's, and the Staplehouse supper club. 

The undeniable generosity shown to care for him and meet his medical and other needs, which were well above and beyond his available insurance coverage, was a moving experience for all of those involved. Spearheaded by Local Three/Muss & Turner’s owners Chris Hall, Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner, the fundraising event dubbed Team Hidi and “round up” requests at restaurants throughout the region raised nearly $300,000 to help Ryan Hidinger fight his battle. The transformative impact of this unconditional love and selflessness inspired the formation of The Giving Kitchen to create a ripple effect by extending support to the entire Atlanta Hospitality Community that will continue to be felt for years to come. 

As a one-of-a-kind platform for fulfilling the mission of The Giving Kitchen and creating a sustainable source for funding, we are proud to announce the opening of Staplehouse Restaurant, named in honor of Ryan and Jen Hidinger (current goal: first quarter of 2014). Ryan and his wife, Jen, along with his sister Kara (General Manager at Abattoir) and future brother-inlaw Ryan Smith (Executive Chef at Empire State South) have already begun “paying it forward” with countless unpaid hours of consulting and planning to assist in the development and success of Staplehouse.  Combined with funds raised by TGK from charitable contributions, the profits of Staplehouse will help TGK fund grants to help pay excessive medical and other expenses for the people who anonymously and graciously nourish so many of us during our dining experiences and who may find themselves in a time of need. Grant application criteria and funding timelines will be established in the coming months. 

As a natural extension of the industry’s “DNA,” TGK embraces the opportunity to support its own while continuing to demonstrate that hospitality well-served has the capacity to multiply joy and minimize sorrow. Welcome aboard.


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The Giving Kitchen Initiative founders tour the distillery at Woodford Reserve and craft their custom blend of bourbon. As of October, 2013, the whiskey is available at the locations above, as well as Leon's Full Service and Brickstore Pub, and Kimball House. All proceeds go to benefit The Giving Kitchen

Links of Relevance  

The Giving Kitchen website:

Team Hidi annual Fundraiser: Next Event is January 25, 2015

Ryan Hidinger addressing an audience at The High Museum “Creative Mornings” gathering, June 28, 2013:

The Prelude to Staplehouse blog (updates on Ryan Hidinger’s progress in his fight; lots of great links to media coverage of Staplehouse and other nuggets of goodness):

The Giving Kitchen, Board of Directors


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Ryan Turner
Chairman, The Giving Kitchen
CEO, Unsukay Community of Businesses
Executive Committee, Georgia Restaurant Association
2011, GRA’s GRACE Restaurateur of the Year


Chris Hall
Vice Chairman, The Giving Kitchen
COO, Unsukay Community of Businesses
Participant, Ronald McDonald House, High Wine Museum Wine Auction
2011, GRA’s GRACE Restaurateur of the Year


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Chris Pomar
Secretary, The Giving Kitchen
Asst Headmaster, Enrollment & Planning, Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School
Past President, Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools, Admissions Cohort
MPA, Nonprofit Management
Board of Directors, Horizons Atlanta
Oxford College Alumni Board
MIM Certified Judge, co-author of The Glovebox Guides to BBQ


Catherine Mickle
Treasurer, The Giving Kitchen
CFO, American Cancer Society
CFO, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Member of the AICPA Not-for-Profit Organizations Expert Panel
Member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council and Not-For-Profit Resource Group
Board member of Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse



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Michele Stumpe
Taylor English Duma, LLP
Founder/Executive Director Children of Conservation
Vice Chairman Staplehouse Board of Directors
Board Member, Orange Duffel Bag
Governance Committee, PASA
Board of Trustees, Dewar Wildlife Trust
Legal Advisory Board, Camp Twin Lakes
Consulting Services for the Georgia Restaurant Association
Georgia Food Industry Association
Georgia Association of Convenience Stores.


Doug Hertz
Chief Executive Officer and President, United Distributors Inc.
Founder & Former Chairman, Camp Twin Lakes
Former Chairman, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Board Member, The Marcus Foundation, Inc., Atlantic Capital Bank, Georgia Research Alliance, Westminster School, and serves on the Board and Executive Committee of Tulane University
Advisory Board, Woodruff Arts Center and Hands On Atlanta


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Nancy Oswald
Chairman of the Board, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB)
Co-Owner/Franchisee, Ruth’s Chris Steak House
2010, Presented with GRA’s GRACE Lifetime Achievement Award


Alison Sawyer
Director of Corporate Communications for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena

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Todd Mussman
CCO, Unsukay Community of Businesses
2011, GRA’s GRACE Restaurateur of the Year


Mike Gallagher
Chairman “Staplehouse” Board of Directors
Brick Store Pub
LEONs Full Service
Kimball House


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