Puerto Rican competitive BBQ chef uses skills to feed Afghan evacuees

ByTimothy Walton via WPVI logo
Monday, September 27, 2021
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Hiram Quintana went from the competitive BBQ circuit to preparing meals for Afghan evacuees finding refuge in Philadelphia.

POTTSTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Hiram Quintana has competed for years on the competitive BBQ circuit. His skills are now being used to prepare meals for Afghan evacuees finding refuge in Philadelphia.

He is a restaurateur and chef who has helped open a number of restaurants in Pottstown. But Hiram's passion is helping feed others in need.

He grew up in Puerto Rico, where his family taught him the importance of gathering over a meal. His family came to Philadelphia, but he moved to the suburbs where he learned to cook. Hiram is classically trained in French cooking but his time in catering opened his eyes to preparing meals for the masses.

He was recently 'deployed' by Operation BBQ Relief, a national organization that has served more than a million meals as part of disaster relief around the United States. It is a network of competitive BBQ chefs who use those skills as a first response tool for communities in need.

Hiram is currently preparing 1,800 meals a day for the Afghan evacuees landing in Philadelphia. A network of volunteers has helped him cook, create and pack the meals to be delivered.

Partners like Operation 143, a Pottstown non-profit, have helped him build a long list of volunteers in order to fulfill the massive amount of orders to provide a small comfort for the evacuees displaced in Philadelphia.

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300 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464

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227 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464

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