Food Industry

Yardbird Raises Money in Memory of Line Cook Rashawn Samuel

Working in a restaurant is oftentimes described as being part of a family. There are, after all, few workplaces where you yell, laugh, and work as closely as in a kitchen. That's why when something tragic happens to a restaurant employee an entire community comes together.

When Yardbird Southern Table & Bar line cook Rashawn K. Samuel lost his life on May 29, his work family sprung into action with general manager Dustin Lapekas initiating a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Samuel's family:
We are reaching out to our 50 Eggs family and any others that knew Rashawn Samuel. Rashawn was an employee at Yardbird, Miami Beach for nearly a year and was flourishing as an employee and as an individual. Unfortunately, Rashawn was taken from us unexpectedly as he lost his life on May 29, 2016.

We would like to collect any amount of money that our 50 Eggs family would like to provide to be able to assist Rashawn's family to financially cope with his passing.

We would like to present a check to his family by next Monday, June 6, 2016. This gives us a full week to ensure we have enough time to gather donations.

We appreciated everyone's support as the Yardbird Miami team mourns this loss from our team member. Thank you very much for your time.
John Kunkel, founder and CEO of Yardbird's parent company, 50 Eggs Inc., said that this is an indication of the bonds formed in a kitchen. "When you work with someone shoulder to shoulder, you band together." 

Kunkel described Samuel as a dedicated employee. "He was a line cook for us, and he cared about what he did. He was a good guy, and he worked hard."

The restaurant executive did not want to share details of Samuel's death but did say he was in touch with the family.  


Kunkel added that when another employee died of a heart attack months back, the restaurant did the same thing. "We come together as a family."

So far, the GoFundMe page has raised $1,025 of its $2,000 goal. To contribute, visit gofundme.com.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss