Local Chef Creates Unique Way to Feed Furloughed Employees: “Let Them Eat the Art “

Peno Italian Soul Food, located at 7600 Wydown Rd. in the Clayton- Moorlands area, is unveiling a unique and timely way of demonstrating their creative passion that goes into sustaining a quality restaurant during these most troubled of times.


Like other independently owned restaurants trying to survive the business shutdown, Peno Italian Soul Food continues to provide non-contact curbside dinner pick-up and first party local delivery. But Peno owner, Pepe Kehm, has created some unique ways to help feed furloughed restaurant employees throughout the area. First, Peno offers out-of-work restaurant employees the “Industry Pasta of the Moment” exclusively for industry friends in need, at no charge.  Secondly, Pepe has created “The Quarantine Kitchen” in order to support his own furloughed employees. Pepe, together with employee-artist Ocean Alexander, have created a Facebook live event entitled “Let Them Eat the Art”. Since the program was established, Alexander has painted a new work of art to auction on social media with proceeds to benefit the families of Peno’s own out-of-work employees displaced due to the shutdown.


“Let them Eat the Art” was officially launched when the first Ocean Alexander painting, “Crying Calabrese Girl” was auctioned off for $2500. The second 36” x 40” painting, “The Patient Nurse”,was painted just days later and fetched another $2600. The current painting, “Scattered”, features graffiti-like wording alongside a crying female image, which is consistent with Alexander’s artistic style.


“The sustainability of this restaurant continues to amaze me”, said Pepe Kehm. “From Chef Jose donating his paycheck to his fellow furloughed workers, to employees sacrificing hours so that others can work, to Ocean donating his time to paint each week, plus all the outpouring of love from customers, have made us all feel truly blessed” said Kehm.


Ocean Alexander will continue to create a new original painting each week. To see more, follow Pepe Kehm, or Peno Italian Restaurant on Facebook or Instagram for the latest updates from The Quarantine Kitchen. Here you will also find a daily menu available Tuesday thru Sunday evenings for non-contact curbside pick-up and local delivery.


“One thing we can be certain of, is that the local independent restaurant industry will never be the same” says Kehm. “We are planning changes ahead for to the new normal, which will be revealed soon once business resumes. Until then, support your local favorite restaurants while you can”, Kehm added.

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