O.C. Steps Up: Feeding Health Care Workers

Frank and Shannon Tucker of Terrace Hill Olive Oil; Dean Kim of OC Baking Co.; and Sran and Tera Tanjasiri of Crema Artisan Bakery display their goods at the artisan pop-up in Orange. Photograph by Emily J. Davis

To help us stay positive during these challenging times of mostly bad news, we’re sharing uplifting stories happening right here in Orange County. Be sure to check out the May issue of Orange Coast for many such profiles; in the meantime, we offer a few tidbits to make you happy now. Check our homepage regularly for O.C. Steps Up—anecdotes about your neighbors doing whatever they can to lift the community.

OC Baking Co. owner Dean Kim, Break of Dawn owner Dee Nguyen, and Crema Café owner Tarit Tanjasiri have made their products available directly to O.C. residents at an artisan pop-up in Orange, and they are giving free meals to health care workers and their families.

Q: How did this start?
Dean Kim: I was getting a lot of calls from my community, asking if they could buy bread because the markets were all out of bread.

Dee Nguyen: Dean, Tarit, and I have been friends forever. We’re the three amigos. I’ve known Dean for more than 20 years, back in the Ritz-Carlton days. Dean is the business mastermind. We’re truly mom-and-pop businesses. So we have to work to survive and take care of our employees.

Q: And you’re giving free food to health workers?
Nguyen: This crisis has been devastating for our hospitality industry, but it’s nothing compared to what health care frontliners are up against. They’re putting themselves at risk for our sake. They’re stressed and not eating well, which can be detrimental to their health. The least we can do is make a decent meal and show them that they’re appreciated.

Q: How can O.C. residents help?
Kim: Right now, everyone should try to buy local. Look at restaurants doing great deals right now. All over, restaurants are open for curbside service. I got such a great deal on lobster yesterday. Look at the OC Restaurant Association. They’re coordinating with all the local places to get people fed.

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