Miami's culinary community has been bowed by the coronavirus, but it's far from broken. Every day, its members demonstrate they refuse to go down without a fight. With equal parts talent, ingenuity, and moxie, they're working to keep locals fed, to keep as many employees on the payroll as possible, and to show their appreciation and support for those on the frontlines.
In an effort to show our appreciation, New Times is reaching out to our friends in the hospitality industry and inviting them to engage in some fun self-promotion while sharing their less obvious talents.
Welcome to the New Times Isolation-Era Video Promo Challenge!
Got a bartender who does bar tricks? A chef who plays the violin? A kitchen crew that can strut its dance moves? (While maintaining a safe social distance, of course.)
Send us your best stuff, and we'll share it with our readers if our discerning staff finds the production and entertainment values to be up to snuff. Videos should not exceed three minutes in length and, in addition to amusing or otherwise impressing our jaded sensibilities, must explicitly promote your establishment in some form or fashion.
Kind of like a free ad — but it must be a creative one. And no ringers!
Email videos of your stellar efforts to email@example.com by attaching a file or including a link.
Our first entrant is Jenny Hales, backed by her husband Richard and daughters Lily (age 10) and Violet (age 8). Scroll to the top of this post to watch the video.
In better times, the Haleses' company, Grateful Hospitality, operated Miami restaurants Blackbrick, Sakaya Kitchen, Bird & Bone, and Society BBQ. These days, they're offering takeout and delivery from Blackbrick and feeding first responders through the Grateful Hospitality Nourishment Fund, which aims to raise $42,000 to feed local frontline workers.
Jenny Hales studied business and music at the University of Miami (where she met Richard). "I performed quite a lot in school," she tells New Times. "Then we got married and had kids, and I focused on the business." A few years ago, she began performing at Blackbrick.
Though the pandemic has put the brakes on that creative outlet, she couldn't resist New Times' invitation. For her video, she chose Bill Withers' gospel-tinged hit "Lean on Me" in honor of the singer-songwriter's recent passing.
"It's such an inspiring song, and it describes what we're all going through," Jenny says. "After all, sometimes we all have pain and sorrow and need a helping hand."
Much to the chagrin of her daughters, Jenny improvises a bit at the end by singing, "Call me if you need delivery."
"They thought it was sooooo not cool," she says. "They thought it was cheesy."
After the song, Richard plugs the Grateful Hospitality Nourishment Fund.
"The fund has raised nearly $10,000 so far," says Jenny, adding they delivered about a thousand meals to hospital workers last week. "I know from speaking to friends who are doctors that hospitals are preparing their staff mentally for the coming weeks. So now is the time when they need our support. I can't even imagine doing what they do. They're heroes."
If you want us to highlight your immensely entertaining video in a future story, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.