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Tampa chef cooking 'nonstop' to help people who lost everything in Hurricane Dorian

“The moment I arrived here, they picked from the airport and brought me here to the kitchen.”

TAMPA, Fla — It’s been nearly nonstop cooking for Tampa’s Chef Gaston Meredith.

“The moment I arrived here, they picked from the airport and brought me here to the kitchen,” said Chef Gaston who arrived in the Bahamas last week to volunteer with Hurricane Dorian relief.

The owner of a successful Ybor City catering company, Chef G -- as he’s known -- left his business behind to spend a week volunteering with Mercy Chefs in the Bahamas.

“There was no time to think… just jump in and get with the chef and find out what you need," he said.

Chef G got his start as a chef in the Coast Guard -- an experience that’s served him well.  As one of the first volunteers on the ground, Chef G helped Mercy Chefs set up their massive relief effort, which continues to grow.

“It’s very intense," Chef Gaston explained. "Time management is of the essence because you have to get this food out to the different locations, to different locations at a particular time, so you can feed all these people."

Lisa Saylor is Mercy Chefs' director of disaster relief

“I don’t think even us here on the island have a full scope on just how big the need is,” said Saylor.  “We’ve literally been cooking as much food as we can pour out of our kitchen.”

As Chef G prepares to return home and back to his business, new volunteers will cycle in to take his place.

Asked if he’s exhausted after his long week, he said it's kind of like a must-win football game.

“You may be tired, but your adrenaline is so high!" Gaston said with a smile. "But, once it’s all over and I get on the airplane, I’m sure I’ll fall fast asleep."

Mercy Chefs says their mission is far from over. They are still serving meals in Florida’s Panhandle following last year’s Hurricane Michael and say the devastation in the Bahamas is even worse.

If you’d like to volunteer or make a donation to Mercy Chefs you can visit their website here.

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