Celebrity Chef Develops Restaurant-Quality Ready-To-Eat Meals For Needy Families

Chef John Doherty has spent 23 years cooking extravagant meals for presidents, dignitaries, and celebrities. Now the New York City restaurant owner is focusing on preparing nutritious and delicious ready-to-eat meals for families who don't have funds or access to their own groceries.

"While developing various food products for a brand I was consulting for, the thought occurred to me that I could create an entire meal in a package for people who needed it, not wanted it," Doherty, the chef owner of Black Barn restaurant in the trendy Flatiron neighborhood, told The Daily Meal.

Doherty founded the nonprofit Heavenly Harvest Foundation and partnered with Feed the Children, an organization that works to end childhood hunger. Together, the groups make healthy, non-perishable meals to distribute to food banks and soup kitchens so they can reach those in need at no cost.

Each package is made with fresh meat, vegetables, pasta or rice, herbs, and spices with no preservatives or artificial ingredients, and has a "use by" date up to 12 months from manufacture. Each individual serving exceeds USDA recommendations for an adult's nutritional needs for one meal. The only requirement for re-heating these products is having a microwave or a stovetop.

After the first of the recent devastating hurricanes hit, Doherty started donating all the proceeds from Sunday dinners at the NoMad eatery directly to hungry families affected by storms Harvey, Irma, and Maria. As an extra incentive, when customers dine at Black Barn on Sundays, dessert is on the house.

If you can't make it to dinner in NYC but would still like to help, you can donate directly to the Heavenly Harvest Foundation on its website or through a GoFundMe campaign. The foundation says that $19 will provide two meals a day for one person for seven days, and $100 can feed a family for a week.

For more on this topic, here are 10 shocking facts that will make you wonder if you're doing enough to fight hunger.