Chef Rick Bayless cooks up subscription video service to help fund employees

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CHICAGO — Chef Rick Bayless employs a little over 100 people through his restaurants, and after regaining a foothold in the summer it’s back to the potential of more layoffs after Governor Pritzker imposed Tier 3 Covid mitigations in the fall.

So the nationally-known chef, restaurateur and TV host is debuting a new way of helping his staff keep their heads above the COVID-19 waters: a subscription YouTube channel.

Proceeds from the memberships will help fund salaries at his restaurants, which have complied with on-again, off-again shutdowns throughout the pandemic..

“This would be a great way to get together a community of people who love the kind of food we do and give them the really great stuff,” he said.

Entitled “The Complete Mexican Kitchen Sessions,” two videos a week will feature Mexican cuisine and more, made available on two different cost levels. 

“To be able to download all that stuff from what we’ve learned over the years and to be able to help our staff with a subscription series through YouTube,” Bayless said.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the workers taking the hardest hit in this pandemic have been in the accommodation and food services sector. 

Since March, the industry has lost at least 5.5 million or 44 % of its jobs. That’s one in four jobs lost overall in the pandemic.

Bayless, who professes to be a life-long student himself, said he is still learning new recipes and techniques all the time through his PBS Destination Series “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.”

“When you think about French or Chinese food in terms of complexity, Mexico is right there with them,” he said.Launch date for the series is November 30. More information at youtube.com/rickbayless.

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