Local Chef Organizes Aussie-Style BBQ For Australia’s Bush Fire Victims – wgbh.org

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WGBH News’ Henry Santoro interviewed local chef and restaurateur Sam Jackson Tuesday as he hopes to help his homeland of Australia recover from catastrophic wildfires that have killed millions of animals as they consumed millions of acres of land. Jackson, who owns KO Catering and Pies in East Boston, spoke with Santoro about a fundraiser for the cause on Jan. 28 when dozens of Boston area’s top chefs will help Sam throw an Australian BBQ to raise money to help Australians’ recovery. The interview has been slightly edited for clarity

Henry Santoro: What is it like for a native Australian, like yourself, halfway around the world, to see what’s happening there?

Samuel Jackson: It’s difficult. You certainly feel helpless. I think we’ve all seen the optics. And, for me personally, this is on the back step of where I grew up. So, for me, I’m very familiar with the territory that’s being burnt down. This is a big part of my childhood. And for me to sit here on the other side of the world and watch it. … It’s pretty painful to be honest with you.

Santoro: Your home state is New South Wales. Is your family safe?

Jackson: Yeah, they’re fine. As far as property wise, they’re in a relatively densely populated area that’s not quite on the bush. To me, the loss of properties only part of the problem. The psychological impact of the smoke and being around it all, I think is something that we’re all suffering from beyond the obvious of larger fires.

Santoro: Well the fires have been burning for months?

Jackson: Since September, yeah, the big ones. And like I say, this is something that in my lifetime, I recall several significant fires, but nothing on this scale.

Santoro: And who knows how many millions of animals have lost their lives?

Jackson: Yeah, that’s the tough part.

Santoro: And you were on holiday just recently and it dawned on you that you had to do something. So, tell us what’s happening on the 28th of this month? Who are the chefs? Some of the chefs was happening, whereas where’s it going to take place?

Jackson: Essentially, I just put an email out to a chunk of my friends here and the local chef community. And I was desperate in a lot of ways. I was very honest. I told them what we were up against. And quite frankly, I needed the help. I knew that on my own with KO restaurant, we had an opportunity to probably get some money in. But, once you start throwing in the likes of Ming Tsai, Ken Oringer, Jamie Bissonnette from Sama, Tony Messina, Nick Dixon. You’re talking some much bigger names.

Once these people got back to me with this this powerful resounding, yes. … I knew that our strength relied on that power in numbers. And I thought, well, where we have now, are we going to host it? And Nick from Capo and the Broadway Restaurant Group, didn’t hesitate [to offer their space] and said we’re hosting it at Capo. And it’s a huge space.

Santoro: Sam Jackson owns KO Catering and Pies. It is on Marginal Street in East Boston at the Shipyard. If you’ve never had a traditional Aussie meat pie, don’t walk. Run to the shipyard. And the Boston Barbie for bushfire supporters happening on January 28 at the Capo Supper Club.

Source: Thanks https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2020/01/24/local-chef-organizes-aussie-style-bbq-for-australias-bush-fire-victims