When COVID-19 hit the country hard last March, MIDA, a restaurant in Boston's South End, was one of many businesses that had to shutdown. But through pasta drives to raise funds for employees to making thousands of lunches for hospital workers, MIDA has survived the pandemic and even recently expanded to a second location in Newtonville.
Douglass Williams, chef and owner of MIDA, spoke to Boston Public Radio on Monday about what coming out of the pandemic looks like for his businesses and the rest of the restaurant industry.
Williams, was named one of 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2020, had to crack open his recipe books and rethink dishes when MIDA had to shift to takeout and delivery, he said.
"I really like to call it re-engineering, that's really what we've done with a lot of the food," he said. "Starch especially is one thing that's very difficult to travel well, but I just went back to my recipes and looked at portion size, heating directions, and worked it out."
Williams reflected on lessons learned throughout the pandemic that he'll continue to integrate into his businesses.
"We've really improved our training processes and [realized] that not everyone is going to walk in and be a great server immediately," he said. "We have to put in a lot of dedication and energy into people who are coming in needing a job and we need to have open arms and ask them to come in, be part of the family, and make a career out of this."
MIDA is a Black-owned restaurant, and Williams hopes that people are conscientious about spreading their resources across all businesses.
"It's about local discovery and about spreading out what you do, where you do it, how you do it, and who you do it with," he said. "Spread out your resources when you're trying to give them to entertain yourself or nourish yourself."