Philly celebrity chef helps fight homelessness and hunger with Thanksgiving feast

Laurel's Nicholas Elmi and La Colombe's Chris Miller serve up 100 turkeys at Broad Street Ministry
From left: Philadelphia chefs Donald Williams, Chris Miller and Nicholas Elmi
From left: Philadelphia chefs Donald Williams, Chris Miller and Nicholas Elmi are serving 10 organic turkeys as part of Broad Street Ministries' annual Thanksgiving Day feast. Photo credit Shara Dae Howard/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Prior to Thanksgiving Day, a Philadelphia celebrity chef is helping whip up an early celebration for hundreds of local people facing hunger and homelessness.

Nicholas Elmi, of South Philly's Laurel and In the Valley (1617 and 1615 East Passyunk Avenue, respectively), is heading up a kitchen takeover at Broad Street Ministry (315 South Broad Street) with his longtime friend Chris Miller of La Colombe.

Broad Street Ministry’s chef Donald Williams says they’re cooking up a special meal to serve 350 to 400 guests daily through Wednesday. “It’s a lot of love,” Williams said.

Elmi says he’s stoked about the menu: “We’re doing turkey pot pies. So all the fixings in a pot pie. So, yeah … one shot.”

All told, through the celebration, they will serve more than 100 organic turkeys in those one-shot pot pies — plus 600 lbs. of sweet potatoes, 500 bushels of collard greens, a beautiful golden stock made from 300 lbs. of chicken — with food donations from Carversville Farm in Bucks County.

“I love giving back to the community of Philadelphia and being able to do stuff like this. It’s been so much fun,” Emli said.

The mission of Broad Street Ministry is to lift people out of poverty by helping them stabilize their lives with a combination of regular meals and social services. It’s a philosophy they call “radical hospitality.”

“It’s awesome, man. It’s a true blessing,” said Calvin, who has been going to Broad Street Ministry for a few years now.

Broad Street Ministry
Broad Street Ministry's dining room area, where they hold their main events, is a room called the Sanctuary. Photo credit Shara Dae Howard/KYW Newsradio

He says they have been a saving grace for him as he works on his transition from living on the street to finding a permanent home.

“Not only do they give us a good meal, they let us use this as an address, so I can get my place and get off the street,” he said. And special events, like their kitchen takeover, he says, truly make the holiday season brighter.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Shara Dae Howard/KYW Newsradio