After the devastating explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on August 4, thousands of buildings were destroyed including the staple Le Chef, a restaurant that the late, great Anthony Bourdain visited while in the capital city. Filmmaker Amanda Bailly and journalist Richard Hall launched a GoFundMe page to help rebuild the restaurant and it was revealed that actor Russell Crowe made a donation.
Hall tweeted: “Someone called Russell Crowe made a very generous donation to our Le Chef fundraiser. But not sure if it’s *the* @russellcrowe.” The donation was for $5,000 and it wasn’t long before Crowe confirmed that it was him saying, the donation was on behalf of Bourdain.
“I thought that he would have probably done so if he was still around,” Crowe wrote. “I wish you and LeChef the best and hope things can be put back together soon.”
The GoFundMe page aimed to raise $15,000 and surpassed that amount in less than 24 hours after it launched. As of August 16, nearly $19,000 were donated to Le Chef. The GoFundMe page stated: “We will continue collecting donations and all additional funds will go toward supporting the staff until Le Chef can reopen, so please do keep giving!!! Every dollar will go toward keeping the staff and their families fed and housed at this difficult time.”
Characterized by owner Charbel Bassil’s signature “Welcome!”, Le Chef has been a popular spot in the neighborhood of Gemmayze since it opened in 1967. The GoFundMe page describes it as a place with “warm food and even warmer hospitality”.