Headed by Chef Diego Felix, Colectivo Felix is one of the local partners with California’s Great Plates program, a delivery service that brings fresh, hot meals to qualifying seniors. Several friends of mine who are in the high-risk Covid-19 group have praised the system that brings a variety of deliciously designed hot meals directly to their front door.
Currently working from the Westside kitchen at the former Kelly’s French Pastries—where people can order empanadas and other menu items for pickup—Colectivo delivers dishes from its extensive menu of authentic South American cuisine to approximately 30 homebound clients. Founder and entrepreneur Felix explains his work with Great Plates.
GT: How did Colectivo Felix get involved with the Great Plates program?
DIEGO FELIX: While partnering with a group called Covid Meals, they let us know that the county was looking for vendors for the Great Plates program, and so my wife Sanra [Ritten] applied.
Does this sort of social outreach fit into your overall culinary mission?
Yes. Our overarching goal is to promote Latin American culture through food and be an active part of better food systems. This program has introduced us to a new audience who would not otherwise have known our food.
How has it worked?
It is totally different from our usual multi-course celebratory dinners. It is a challenge meeting the needs of a diverse set of seniors who have varied dietary restrictions and many of whom are not familiar with Latin American cuisine.
What gives you the most pleasure in this program?
The most rewarding has been when they tell me that they have never tried vegetables my way and that they can feel the love we put into the food. It means a lot to us that they are nourished and happy.
Has Great Plates been important for you during this pandemic shutdown?
Great Plates was a huge help and source of income for our business when we first started. We had a summer booked almost full with weddings, winery dinners and private events, and then all of these large gatherings had to be cancelled, so we quickly pivoted and developed an Argentine empanadas business and our own social program called Empanadas for Farmworkers. We also do drop-off caterings in Santa Cruz and virtual online cooking classes for individuals and groups.
What dish seems to please your clients most?
Our seniors have a wide array of preferences, but they all love the empanadas.
How long will you continue with Great Plates?
The Great Plates program is confirmed until Feb. 6, and they renew the contract every month depending on funding.
To order from the large array of Colectivo Felix Argentine-style empanadas stuffed with chicken, beef, and winter squash, plus complex chimichurri sauce, visit colectivofelix.square.site. To find out more about the Great Plates program, email [email protected].
Chef/owners Hugo and Rene Martinez have worked tirelessly and successfully for 10 years to make sure that Pizzeria Avanti offers great pizzas, pastas, and that legendary brussels sprouts salad to their countless patrons on the Westside and beyond. Remember how many cozy dinners you’ve had in those booths? Or appetizers at the wine bar? Of course you do!
But like so many restaurants in these weird shutdown times, Pizzeria Avanti could use some extra love to make ends meet and keep the pizza oven fired up. Join me and scores of Pizzeria Avanti fans in the current GoFundMe campaign for this local landmark. Lend your support at gofundme.com/f/pizzeria-avanti-support-fund.