Mike Vu woke up on Tuesday morning with an idea.
Why not offer a free Thanksgiving dinner for people in need or people who don’t have time to cook?
He had been thinking about how COVID-19 is on everybody’s minds, how some people’s employment insurance is running out, some people are losing their jobs, vegetable prices have recently risen about 70 per cent.
As owner of the Hanoi 36 restaurant in Salmon Arm with his spouse Jenny, “we figured we could do something nice for everybody,” he said Friday morning, emphasizing they aren’t doing it for publicity and weren’t expecting the call from the newspaper.
“The last thing you want to try to do is make Thanksgiving dinner if you don’t have any money,” he said.
Preparations were well underway Friday.
“As we speak my wife is whipping up a huge batch of banana bread.”
The night before Vu made about 15 litres of gravy. His chef peeled 50 pounds of potatoes with another 50 pounds to go.
He has a big box of Brussels sprouts from Askew’s.
He ordered 30 kilograms of chicken from Farmcrest, which gave him credit for 20 kgs when they learned what he was doing. Other members of the community have also been quick to offer support.
He has a friend who specializes in baking without sugar. She provided a huge tray of pumpkin tarts.
A couple of other friends contributed money.
“I want to let everybody know we wanted to do something good for everybody, and we found a lot of business owners and the community, they want to remain anonymous, but they’re contributing to our cause.”
The free dinner will be on Saturday, Oct. 9, 5 to 7 p.m.
It will be a sit-down meal; Vu hopes most people will be able to sit for 30 minutes, with a maximum of 45 maximum if necessary.
With about 30 seats, he hopes to feed between 100 to 150 people, no more than four per table. The regular menu will not be available. He said he will stay open to 8 p.m. if necessary as he doesn’t want a lot of food left over.
Because his staff will be off for Thanksgiving events, it will just be him and Jenny, who have lots of experience in the kitchen, with his kids. Although the food will be quick to prepare, he asks that people be patient.
“I welcome everybody who wants to come by for a nice chicken dinner.”
Hanoi 36 is located at 141A Hudson Ave. NE.
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