When Chad Pritchard heard about the terrorist attacks in Paris, it took him back to 2009 and the terrorist attack at Fort Hood. He grew up there (his dad was in the Army), and at the time he lived nearby and owned a pizza restaurant. He lost friends and customers in the attack.
Pritchard, who owns Oregano Italian Kitchen in Provo and is a classically trained French chef, wanted to do more than put the French flag on his Facebook profile or use a hashtag. So he’s hosting a five-course classical French meal at his restaurant Tuesday night and donating all profits to the International Red Cross‘s relief efforts in Paris.
The dining room will be transformed into a French bistro, with different music and different table settings. The meal will start with French onion soup followed by a French spinach salad with a poached egg, then coq au vin, followed by steak frites (a New York strip steak with house-cut fries) and lemon curd for dessert. The meal will be $54. Reservations are recommended, but not required. The restaurant’s regular menu also will be available.
He wants people to do more than talk about what happened.
[pullquote]”We hashtag this and pray for Paris but we don’t put money where our mouth is.” —Chad Pritchard, owner of Oregano Italian Kitchen[/pullquote]
“We hashtag this and pray for Paris but we don’t put money where our mouth is. I understand the (LDS) Church has humanitarian aid but this is much more poignant — donating to the Red Cross to help these victims,” he said. “If there was a way to reach out even more I would. How do you heal people? You can’t. But one of the things I can do is comfort and that’s what food does.”
On that day in 2009, when people weren’t sure what was happening and couldn’t reach their loved ones at Fort Hood, Pritchard opened up his restaurant to everyone and fed people. So he decided food is how he can help the people of Paris, and honor his French instructors and mentors.
“What can I do? I can feed people. I can comfort those here and say ‘hey, you’re eating here, you’re going to bring some comfort to people across the world,'” he said. “We can stand together and it’s something I feel needs to be addressed, it needs to be said. We stand with them because we were them.”
He knows there are terrorist attacks all over the world that don’t get the attention that Paris is getting, and though the benefit is for Paris, he says it’s a way to stand against all terrorism.
The fundraiser dinner, Je suis de Paris, will be from 5–9 p.m. Tuesday. Call (801) 788-4185 for reservations. The restaurant also will be accepting additional donations for the Red Cross’s efforts in Paris.