Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 22

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Giving Kitchen
H
Founder's cancer led to a legacy of support for food industry workers
By Sarah Russell * Photos courtesy of Giving Kitchen
e was, he'd always say, just a
cook. Actually, Ryan Hidinger
was a very well-respected
chef on the Atlanta food scene. He
wanted his own restaurant-nothing
fancy, 50 seats or so. The banks said " no. "
But he was only 35 years old, and there
was still time.
Until there wasn't. The doctor
said there wouldn't be another birthday.
Hidinger had stage 4 gallbladder
cancer and maybe six months to live. In
the aftermath of the diagnosis in 2012,
Hidinger came to feel that the cancer was
a gift. In an unlikely but beautiful way, he
was right.
Hidinger fought hard to stay with his
for almost eight years. During that
time, the two had become close friends.
Turner felt the need to do something to
" emotionally pull him to the other side of
the battle. " He would not and could not
let cancer have his friend's spirit.
Turner suggested that Hidinger still
could have the restaurant he had wanted
with the name he had picked out: Staplehouse.
And he proposed that it would be
awesome if its profits went to help others
in the food industry who were in crisis.
Hidinger saw this as the gift that
Jen and Ryan Hidinger
wife, Jen, and with his family and friends.
They fought along with him. Chris Hall, Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner-
owners of the metro Atlanta restaurant group Unsukay-quickly set up the
first " Team Hidi " fundraiser. Within a month of Hidinger's diagnosis, the
Atlanta food industry's workers, owners and suppliers had given a stunning
quarter of a million dollars to help with his medical expenses. The cancer,
though, kept trouncing the chemotherapy.
Around Hidinger, hearts were quietly breaking, including Turner's.
Hidinger had worked for Muss & Turner's, Unsukay's restaurant in Smyrna,
22 Georgia Magazine May 2022
cancer had given him: a way to pay
forward all the love and help he had
received.
It proved to be a formidable task
financially and legally. As Turner
explains, " [We were] essentially forming something
that did not exist. " The end result was that Staplehouse,
created as a for-profit restaurant, would
funnel those profits into the newly created nonprofit,
Giving Kitchen (GK). GK would disperse those funds
to those in the industry who needed assistance.
Hidinger died in 2014 at age 36. But by the next
year, his dream became a reality.

Georgia Magazine - May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - May 2022

Contents
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 4
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 5
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 6
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 7
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 8
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 9
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Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 38
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Cover4
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