Every Wednesday during the month of August, Belong Kitchen (Belong), a neighborhood non-profit grab-n-go kitchen that employs adults with intellectual and developmental differences, is featuring a menu item created by Guest Chef, Jonathan Levine. Chef Jonathan opened Jonathan’s The Rub in 2008 and opened a second location in 2018. Jonathan visited Belong on June 22nd, 2023 and worked alongside employees to train them to prepare the Eggplant Parmesan recipe that elevates a classic Italian dish to a next-level culinary delight by using only the highest quality ingredients. Generous eggplant portions are pan-fried and then smothered in three different cheeses and marinara sauce. Side salads and garlic bread are also available to create a meatless and hearty dinner that everyone in the family will love.

The Guest Chef series kicked off in August 2022 with Chef Kate McLean, Executive Chef and Partner at Tony’s, one of Houston’s most iconic fine dining establishments. Chef Kate created an incredible dish featuring Vallone’s Italian sausage, fusilli pasta, and fresh rapini, finished in a traditional light garlic sauce with Tony’s Sicilian EVOO. Chef Aaron Bludorn collaborated with Belong in October 2022 to create Bludorn Chili Casserole with Cornbread Crust. Belong has been fortunate to have Chef José Arévalo of Brennan’s and Chef Mark Harris, Executive Chef and Food Service Director of the Kinkaid School, also create recipes. Other guest chefs have included Marcia Smart of Smart in the Kitchen and Joy Wilson (Joy the Baker) and most recently, Raffi Nassr of Craft Pita, who created a delicious Mediterranean Meatball dish. The entire Belong team feels honored to have these Guest Chefs come up with fabulous menu items, visit the restaurant, train the team, and work side-by-side with our staff.

“Belong was built to create dignified work for adults with intellectual and developmental differences,” says Kim Brown, founder and Executive Director of Belong Kitchen. “I cannot think of anything more dignified that having some of Houston’s most prominent and talented Chefs take time out of their busy schedules to create recipes for our non-profit Kitchen and work alongside our staff to train us on how to prepare these meals. We are blessed to be part of the Houston community and proud and honored to have such incredible Chefs prove that this is a place where we all belong.”

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