Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR) announced its third-annual Unite for a Bite, a national campaign designed to support women in the culinary arts, on August 19.

This year, in response to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, part of the proceeds from participating member restaurants and partners will benefit the New Orleans–based Gulf Restoration Network, founded in 1995 to unite and empower people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf region for future generations.

During Unite for a Bite, diners are invited to visit participating restaurants, which will donate 5 percent or more of their food and beverage sales that day or evening to WCR. The initiative, spearheaded by WCR President Jamie Leeds, chef/owner of Hank’s Oyster Bar and CommonWealth Gastropub in metro Washington, D.C., supports WCR’s mission to promote and enhance the education, advancement, and connection of women.

Following this year’s Unite for a Bite, WCR will work with Susan Spicer, a longtime WCR member and chef/owner of award-winning Bayona in the French Quarter and the recently opened Mondo in New Orleans’ Lakeview neighborhood, who sits on Gulf Restoration Network’s board of directors. Spicer will assist in directing raised funds to benefit foodservice operations nationwide that are impacted by declines in tourism and fresh seafood as a result of the oil disaster.

“While foodservice and hospitality industries in states along the Gulf of Mexico are certainly impacted by the largest oil spill in U.S. history, what many people don’t realize is that restaurants throughout the nation have suffered from lack of a sufficient quantity of fresh seafood from that region,” Leeds says. “Through Unite for a Bite and working with Chef Spicer and the Gulf Restoration Network, WCR hopes to alleviate some of the economic hardship that restaurants that rely on a healthy Gulf region are experiencing.”

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