The kitchen is his toolbox, so when Hurricane Sandy hit, this week’s New Yorker gathered his pots and pans to help rebuild Brooklyn. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
Freshly made lasagna or roast beef and onions. It's just a taste of what Thomas Joseph Perone has been cooking nonstop since Sandy swept the shores of his native Brooklyn.
"It's been a lot of work, but it's worth it because once you get down there and people are so appreciative over things that we usually take for granted, and you see how appreciative they are of the things that they have now," Perone says.
Before Sandy, Thomas took his professional kitchen for granted. Arriving to work in Red Hook a few days after the storm, he found it badly damaged by flood waters. So he had to do something he rarely does: cook at home.
"I've never really cooked here before. Whenever we come home, I order food out because I don't like cooking here," Perone says. "But we've learned to appreciate the stove here.
"I don't remember the past three weeks because it just, like, we went from doing three, four trays from one location, we just did 21, 24 trays on Sunday. Monday, I had volunteers here and Tuesday, and donations kept coming in. And we just kept going."
At a volunteer effort in Gerritsen Beach, that warm food provides comfort.
"He's gonna flourish because of this. It always comes back to you," said Nancy Moran, a Gerritsen Beach resident. "But he's a doll, Thomas Joe's. He brought all of this food today. They need it here. They really do.
Thomas says he will continue supplying food as long as he can. One thing he has learned is that if anyone can recover from Sandy, New Yorkers can.
"People in New York City, they're the ones who have been keeping this going, because there's only so long FEMA is going to stay and the Red Cross is going to stay," Perone says. "That grit that we claim we have, we're showing it now."
So, for cooking meals on behalf of Hurricane Sandy victims, Thomas Joseph Perone is our New Yorker of the Week.
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