Of Hunger and Humanity: Resilience on the Texas Coast

Reef chef de cuisine Tony Carranza (center) and sous chef Kenneth Hamilton (right) unload provisions in Rockport, Texas. Photos by Jennifer Caswell

When Hurricane Harvey unleashed 30 trillion gallons of rain on Texas last summer, thousands of evacuees and first responders needed to be fed. Restaurants and commercial kitchens were turned into relief operations, and residents hauled their grills to rescue staging grounds. The response was extraordinary.

The Caswells’ restaurant Reef became the site of a large relief operation.
Jennifer and Bryan Caswell with some of the first responders they fed.

Reporting this episode, Barry Yeoman followed two Texans—chef Bryan Caswell and his wife and business partner, Jennifer Caswell—as they coordinated a food caravan from their Houston restaurant Reef to the ruined coast. Along the way, he met an immigrant crabber, a military veteran who takes injured warriors fishing, and a volunteer for the Christian ministry Mercy Chefs.

Gravy thanks Eater for collaborating with us on this episode.

Chef Lisa Saylor inside Mercy Chefs’ mobile kitchen.

Learn more:

Mercy Chefs

The Caswells’ Southern Salt Foundation

Jennifer Caswell’s blog

The Houston Chronicle’s excellent coverage of Hurricane Harvey (and here)

Jenny Ament produced this episode.