While American Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for coming together with friends and family, that’s not always an option for some. One of Westchester’s local celebrity chefs has found a way to make a seat at the table for anyone who wants one.
When Chef Bonnie Saran — known for her restaurants Little Crêpe Street, Little Kebob Station, Mount Kisco’s Little Drunken Chef and Little Spice Bazaar, Pleasantville’s Little Mumbai Market, and the larger Little Drunken Chef location in White Plains — came to New York in 2001 following the death of her father in India, she didn’t have anyone with whom she could share the holiday. “When I first moved here, I was totally alone,” she says, “so I understand how the holidays can be a very depressing time for some, even while it’s happy for others.”
With these thoughts heavy in her heart and mind, Saran began a tradition offering free Thanksgiving meals (plus a little company) for anyone who needs it. The event proved successful, and Saran is now in her 11th year of the Westchester County tradition.
“Everyone’s personal life graph is both up and down, whether it’s professionally, personally, or in some other way,” Saran says. “We don’t judge anyone on why they choose to be here with us; they are simply all welcome for any reason.”
This year’s to-go bags will be dished out on Thanksgiving Day at Little Drunken Chef’s White Plains location from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. “For anyone who wishes to be here,” Saran says, “our doors are open that day.”
Dishes include traditional Thanksgiving fare like turkey, ham, and mashed potatoes, but also Indian dishes and vegan options, plus baked goodies, too.
“It’s part of building a community for me. If, as a team, we can get a smile on someone’s face on Thanksgiving, it’s all worth it for me,” says Saran of the free Thanksgiving event. “I especially want to give credit to all my incredible staff, especially the long-term staffers, because they all donate their time to this event. They could be with their friends and family instead, but they choose to be here.”