Relief Is a Dish Served Hot by Musang
Every week, folks at Seattle Southeast Senior Center, Real Change and Food Intentions are treated to mouthwatering meals courtesy of a restaurant good enough to be named a James Beard Award semifinalist. Beacon Hill establishment Musang began providing the meals to local organizations as the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to close its doors. Now, it sees no reason to stop.
“Our Community Kitchen was born out of the necessity to feed the community,” said Melissa Miranda, chef and owner of Musang (pronounced moo-SONG). Aware that many families in the diverse community were reliant on assistance that had been curtailed during the pandemic and having plenty of food on hand after its restaurant temporarily stopped serving customers, she and sous chef Jonnah Ayala began serving as many as 200 meals a day to local residents.
On Wednesday, the United Way of King County community can get a taste of what many Musang patrons have enjoyed since the restaurant opened in 2020. Miranda will join Chef Ethan Stowell for a virtual cooking class as part of United Way’s Eat, Drink & Be Generous virtual event series.
Guests will learn how to make one of Musang’s most popular dishes and enjoy delicious cocktails from Ethan Stowell Restaurants. Guests will also hear about United Way of King County’s Community Relief Fund—an effort to help people impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with rental assistance and food relief—and how you can support this work.
Chef Miranda will guide you to make a steamy, appetizing Filipino entrée of Adobong Puti (coconut chicken), while Chef Stowell will teach you how to shake up a classic-contemporary Black Manhattan.
Musang has fully reopened as COVID restrictions have been relaxed, but it still serves as many as 600 meals a week to local organizations. Folks at Seattle Southeast Senior Center, for example, get meals each Wednesday and Friday. Meals range from chicken teriyaki and rice to chicken fajitas and beans. Miranda has also enlisted other local business owners to assist in the effort, including Communion owner Kristi Brown (who used to cater United Way board of directors’ functions) and Chef Tarik Abdullah of Feed the People. Musang also partners with Real Change once a month to serve meals.
“We work directly with our partners to provide meals to community members in need,” said Miranda. “We started a partnership with Oxbow Farm in Carnation, because at the beginning of the pandemic there was a lot of excess produce because there was no one ordering. They provided a lot of the veggies for us in the beginning.”
“We did curries. We did chicken adobo with a vegetarian option. We did pasta and beef stroganoff with pasta and a salad,” Miranda added. “We did a lot of food that we felt people would enjoy and was comforting.”
Miranda hopes to move Musang’s Community Kitchen and catering service to Seattle’s International District. She also hopes to open a more casual restaurant in the area as well. “We were never just a restaurant,” Miranda said. “We are a community space. We were built by the community for the community. And I am not one to be idle; I can’t just sit. It was organic that [the community kitchen] was what we were going to do and continue to do.”