Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom Invest in Community Platform Supporting Diverse Home Cooks
The couple — along with Padma Lakshmi, Tiffany Haddish, chef Aarón Sánchez and more — are investing a total of $20 million in Shef to help the company expand into new markets
Katy Perry and fiancé Orlando Bloom — along with fellow stars Padma Lakshmi, Tiffany Haddish, chef Aarón Sanchez and more industry heavyweights — have invested a total of $20 million in Shef, a platform that enables home cooks to sell meals in their communities, PEOPLE confirms.
Founded in 2019 by first-generation Americans Alvin Salehi, a former Senior Technology Advisor at the Obama White House, and Joey Grassia, a former Facebook employee, the startup is looking to expand into new markets while pushing for safe home cooking laws.
According to the company, more than 85 percent of their home cooks — who offer customers authentic ethnic foods like freshly wrapped dumplings, coconut curry, jerk chicken, enfriladas de pollo and more — identify as people of color.
Throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant industry has been especially hard hit, with more than eight million restaurant employees laid off or furloughed, according to the National Restaurant Association.
"We've had the privilege of partnering with lawmakers across the United States to introduce well-informed legislation that will put people back to work and revitalize our local economies," says co-founder Salehi in a statement. "We will continue advocating for the safe expansion of home cooking laws to help underrepresented communities land on their feet after the pandemic."
RELATED VIDEO: Gavin Rossdale Invites Us Into His Kitchen For A Vegan Twist On A Classic Italian Dish!
Grassia adds that the company currently has a waitlist of more than 12,000 home chefs hoping to join the platform. "This funding will allow us to expand access to our platform so we can create meaningful opportunities for these talented cooks," he says.
Currently available in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Houston, Austin and Boston, Shef announced last August it had raised $8.8 million in seed funding and had already served over 200,000 meals.