By TAYLOR HARTZ
When Miguel Jimenez, an assistant cook at Anthony Jacks Wood Fired Grill, was injured in a home cooking accident, the restaurant opened its doors to help him get back on his feet.
On New Year’s Day, the 22-year-old cook was preparing lunch in his home when an oil-based fire broke out in a pot on his stove. When Jimenez tried to empty the flaming pot outside his apartment, he slipped and spilt the flaming contents, causing second-degree burns all over his body.
Now facing daunting medical bills and expecting at least two-months of recovery, Jimenez is without an income or medical insurance.
Anthony Jacks chef Hector Delgado wanted to make sure his co-worker could focus on recovering from his surgeries without financial stress.
Jimenez has worked as an assistant cook at the downtown restaurant for two years, where Delgado described him as “my right hand” and an important part of the kitchen staff. The chef said in his two years, Jimenez has always been “a responsible young man, and a reliable employee.”
With the support of owners Chery Moran and Barry DePaolo, Delgado hosted a fundraiser at Anthony Jacks on Jan 19. Delgado reached out to all of his local distributors and was overwhelmed by the number of donations he received for the fundraiser.
The restaurant offered a $20 ticket and donated the ingredients for a buffet dinner of chicken, pork, pasta, salad, dessert, and beer, and wine. Restaurant staff donated all of their time to serve the dinner, allowing 100 percent of proceeds to benefit Jimenez.
“The community response was unbelievable,” said Delgado, who said his original goal was to raise about $1,000 from their dinner. To his surprise, more than 150 patrons attended the fundraiser, raising nearly $4,000 to help Jimenez with his medical bills and living expenses.
Several Southington residents who could not attend have stopped into the restaurant to drop off donations, raising another $1,000.
Delgado said that when Jimenez expressed gratitude, the chef asked that, someday, when Jimenez sees someone in need, he returns the favor and gives back.
The chef said he hopes the funds they have raised will allow Jimenez to dedicate all the time he needs to ensuring a full recovery before he returns to work at the local restaurant.
Jimenez is undergoing surgeries for skin grafts, and is expected to require another month of recovery.
Those who wish to donate to his recovery can do so through Anthony Jacks Wood Fired Grill, located at 30 Center St.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Hartz, email her at THartz@SouthingtonObserver.com.