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Q & A with Dr. Michael Airhart by Guest Blogger Mike Knapp

One of the great things about EVO grills is that they offer unlimited applications.

For Dr. Michael Airhart, that application is using his EVO for good. Dr. Airhart is a Chicago-based chef who has made a commitment to feed the homeless in his community. He was drawn to helping others from a young age, and through his Taste for the Homeless organization, offering food, clothing and hygiene items to the less fortunate in Chicagoland.

I recently caught up with Michael for a quick Q&A. Get to know Dr. Michael Airhart!

Mike Knapp: I know you were drawn to your ministry at an early age, how did that come about?

Michael Airhart: I’ve been cooking since I was about eight years old. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago and I would serve homemade meals out of my mom’s back door. I would knock on doors asking neighbors to borrow food like slices of bread, butter, sugar and spaghetti noodles. My specialty was spaghetti pasta, noodles, butter and salt sautéed together. It made a creamy-tasting dish that my friends would line up at my door all day for!

Growing up poor in the Altgeld Gardens projects, I never knew what plan God had for my life. All I knew is that crack cocaine came out in the early 80s and it took most of our parents away. They got hooked on drugs and there was nothing left for food. We were already poor but what little bit our parents had they spent it on crack, so I started figuring out ways to create meals for my friends. At my mom’s back door I would create Brio cheese sandwiches with pickles, homemade peanut butter and jellies, pasta with butter and salt, sugar cookies made with Kool-Aid and sugar rice with ground beef with gravy, onions and anything else I could find.

Mike Knapp: What made you want to become a chef?

Michael Airhart: I decided I wanted to become a chef the day I start feeding my friends out of the back door of my mom’s apartment in the projects. I remember tying a towel around my waist so I could wipe my hands off when I would get grease or any fools on me. I remember when Tupperware was very popular, and I used to use those bowls to create meals. Then when Fingerhut came out, I used to order stuff off my mom’s catalog, like towels and different gloves, and different forks and spoons just so I could become a chef. I really don’t know why I decided to start cooking and I don’t know where it came from, I just know God chose me to be the biggest chef in the world.

Mike Knapp: Taste of the Homeless has more elements to it than just feeding people. What else does it do for the homeless in the area?

Michael Airhart: It’s about giving people the best in life when they struggle and come on the hard times. Along with hot food, we give them hygiene items, new clothing, and new shoes. It’s about building up their self-esteem and letting them know that everything will be all right. When I was a kid and I first got my first pair of shoes and my first pair of Levi’s I felt brand new. When I went to school or when I went around people, it gave me a sense of love and respect, gave me dignity, and let me know that everything was gonna be all right.

Mike Knapp: Evo grills play a big part in what you do. What are some of the features of the Evo that help you the most?

Michael Airhart: The Evo grill gave me life, and it gave me the ability to cook for thousands of less fortunate people. I can cook t-bone steaks, ribs, burgers, fish…name the food, and Evo can cook it with the touch of the knob. The Evo grill is the future and I’ve been cooking on it for the last 3-4 years now. I cook for the less fortunate and homeless community seven days a week from 5 AM to 8 PM and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Long live the Evo Grill!

Mike Knapp: We see you cooking in lots of videos. What are some of your favorite foods to cook on the Evo?

Michael Airhart: My best foods cooking on the Evo grill include t-bones sautéed in my favorite sauce, and also my build a burger, where I sauté my grilled onions, sweet peppers, jalapeño peppers and mushrooms with a dash of honey mustard, all made at once on the grill. Those are just to name a few.

We also hear that Dr. Airhart cooks a pretty mean breakfast on his Evo as well!  Thank you Dr. Airhart for taking the time to talk with us, and thank you for all of your contributions in helping the homeless and less fortunate in Chicago!  To learn more about Taste for the Homeless, go to tasteforthehomeless.org.

Guest Blogger Mike Knapp

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