Boston Chefs Step Up for Immigrants, Women, and More After Trump’s Travel Ban

Put your money where your mouth is with these upcoming fundraisers.

Chef Karen Akunowicz Photo by Andrew Eccles / Bravo

Karen Akunowicz. / Photo by Andrew Eccles / Bravo

While Bostonians bundled up and headed for Logan Airport and Copley Square this weekend to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from Syria, Sudan, and other predominantly Muslim countries, Tony Maws did what he could ahead of a busy service: He planned a fundraiser.

On Tuesday, January 31, Maws will donate 50 percent of the night’s revenue from both his restaurants, Craigie on Main and the Kirkland Tap & Trotter, to the National Immigration Law Center.

“I was so moved and inspired by the spontaneous demonstrations by our fellow Americans at airports across the country that I, too, wanted to take immediate action. Racing to Logan wasn’t in the cards, but here’s what I can do best, and I am asking to join me,” Maws wrote in his newsletter.

Maws is just one of Boston’s restaurateurs who has used their platform to denounce not only the Trump White House’s position on immigration, but also its actions against women’s rights, civil rights for the LGBTQA population, and more.

Last week, the day Trump ordered his infamous wall on the Mexican borden be built, the Weiner & Wine Wednesday special at Haley.Henry Wine Bar was a taco dog.

“A portion of the proceeds will go directly to the [American Civil Liberties Union] for their continued fight for civil justice and liberties for all,” owner Haley Fortier wrote on Facebook.

The restaurant donated $100 to the ACLU from sales of the taco dog, Fortier says, and then she decided to set up a monthly contribution to the national organization from her business.

“I want to be able to spread the love, with organizations that really stand up for human rights and equality. It’s too important to have us sit idly by, while the current administration begins to destroy what everyone before them has worked so hard to create,” she says.

This week’s weiner dog—cheekily timed pigs-in-a-blanket, in honor of the new president—will also support the ACLU. The pairing on Wednesday, February 1, is Moullard Trousseau, a pinot noir from the Jura region of France.

Also benefitting the ACLU is Formaggio Kitchen’s ever-delicious pimento cheese, just in time for Super Bowl Sunday. The best-seller is general manager Julie Cappellano’s mother’s recipe straight from North Carolina, and now it’s a conduit for change. Beginning on Friday, Formaggio began setting aside 100 percent of the profits from the dip “in hopes of helping protect everyone’s health and civil liberties,” the shop shared on Instagram. The fundraiser continues for the foreseeable future, and Planned Parenthood will also be a beneficiary.

The women’s health organization is also one of the non-profits that SheGives Inc. supports, a Boston-based philanthropic foundation with a strong focus on women. For its inaugural ShePartakes dinner series, Karen Akunowicz, executive chef at Myers & Chang and fan favorite on last season’s Top Chef, is creating the spread. Akunowicz had signed on to work with ShePartakes before Trump took office, but his actions have made the fundraiser even more timely, she says.

“We’ve seen so much turmoil rise so quickly in Donald Trump’s presidency that I feel even more strongly about participating. We all need to continue to do the big and small things we can to move forward in a positive direction,” she says.

The $500 price tag is steep, but in addition to an intimate, multi-course meal from chef Akunowicz in conjunction with Haley.Henry general manager Kristie Weiss and Flour Bakery, with wine pairings from Brix, ticketholders also support six diverse, local organizations. This ShePartakes event benefits Bridge Over Troubled Water, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, InnerCity Weightlifting, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, My Life My Choice, and Science Club for Girls.

“All of them are so different, but each one feels near and dear to my heart,” Akunowicz says.

For thousands of Bostonians this month, responding to the new reality in America has meant stocking up on poster board, maybe knitting a pink hat, or just raising their voice. For members of the Friends of Boston’s Hidden Restaurants page on Facebook and Universal Hub, it meant compiling a list of Muslim-owned business. For many of Boston’s top chefs, it means cooking for a cause.

“This is what we do, how we connect with people. Holding fundraisers is the best way we can give back in a public way,” Akunowicz says.

Have you heard about any other chefs giving back in a public way? Let us know in the comments.

Formaggio Kitchen, 268 Shawmut Ave., South End, Boston, 617-350-6996, 244 Huron Ave., North Cambridge, 617-354-4750,

National Immigration Law Center Fundraiser, Tuesday, January 31, Craigie on Main, 853 Main St., Central Square, Cambridge, 617-497-5511,, Kirkland Tap & Trotter, 425 Washington St., Somerville, 857-259-6585,

Weiner & Wine Wednesday for the ACLU, Wednesday, February 1, 3 p.m.-midnight, Haley.Henry Wine Bar, 45 Province St., Downtown Crossing, Boston, 617-208-6000,

ShePartakes Supper with Karen Akunowicz of Myers + Chang, $500 per person, Tuesday, February 7, 7-10 p.m., location announced to ticketholders,