It is midday on Saturday and smoke rises off the grill even though the doors are closed at the Timesburg restaurant in Barcelona.
The chefs are making hamburgers, not to be served at tables but packed up and delivered to doctors, nurses and other health staff on the front line of Spain’s battle against coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Contributing in any way we can at the moment makes us feel better,” Vanessa, one of the cooks, tells AFPTV as she garnishes the burgers, wraps them up and loads them into takeout bags.
Bars and restaurants have been closed in Spain since the middle of March but a dozen of them have joined forces with delivery companies as part of an initiative called “Delivery for Heroes”.
Every day, between 200 and 300 dishes are prepared and donated to Barcelona’s hospitals, in the hope of offering some solace to those trying to save lives inside.
“We know we are not an absolute necessity because they already have food and catering. But we are trying to give them that moment of excitement,” says Axel Peinado, a promoter of the initiative and director of a Barcelona pizzeria.
“They might have been working for 12 or 14 hours straight, in a very intense environment and during this very difficult situation that we’re all experiencing. And then suddenly, a pizza or some sushi or maybe their favourite burrito in town arrives in their lap.”
As Daniel Valls parks his van outside Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic, two nurses wearing white coats and protective masks against COVID-19 emerge to collect his delivery.
“When you deliver the food and you see they’re happy, that makes us happy and it makes us stronger,” says Valls, who takes precautions too by wearing a mask and gloves.
Since the start of the coronavirus epidemic, which has caused more than 12,400 deaths in Spain, the second worst-hit country after Italy, solidarity initiatives like this one have burgeoned, especially with health workers at the receiving end.