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DC chef offers to deep-fry turkeys for free this Thanksgiving

The Independent logo The Independent 26/11/2020 Graig Graziosi
a refrigerator filled with food © Provided by The Independent

A DC chef is offering Thanksgiving cooks the luxury of having their turkeys deep-fried for free. 

Mark Bucher, owner of restaurant Medium Rare, has been deep-frying turkeys on Thanksgiving Day for more than a decade. 

Due to demand and the need for Covid social distancing this year, Mr Bucher offered his service at a much larger venue -  Washington Nationals Park, home of the capital’s baseball team.

While Mr Bucher does not charge to fry turkeys, he encourages a $25 donation per turkey to help fund his "Feed the Fridge" nonprofit, which provides fridges stocked with free meals to people in need across the region.

Medium Rare is also offering meals to seniors in need. The restaurant is offering free Thanksgiving dinners to anyone over the age of 70 celebrating the holiday alone.

The Washingtonian reported that Mr Bucher, who has a concession stand in the ballpark, partnered with the venue to allow him to expand his turkey-frying service without putting himself, his staff, or his customers at risk.  

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Mr Bucher said that during his first year offering the service, he deep-fried 80 turkeys, and he never expected to do more than that.  This year, he expects to fry at least 1,000 turkeys. 

Deep-frying turkeys for Thanksgiving has become a popular method of preparing the bird, despite the substantial fire risk it poses. 

When turkeys are dropped in pots filled with hot oil, the birds can knock over the pots or send oil spilling over the side. When frying oil hits open flame, it can ignite and burn hot and fast. 

The method gained public notoriety after numerous people started significant fires attempting to cook their turkeys. That is what inspired Mr Bucher to start his service.

After his first event, he said that he found a slip of paper under his windshield wiper. Thinking he had been ticketed on Thanksgiving, he was relieved to find a grateful note.  

“I’m like, ‘Damn it. Who gave me a ticket on Thanksgiving?! I’m all p***** off, and I go look, and it’s a note from a family that was living in a shelter saying, ‘We want to just thank you for cooking our turkey. We would have had no ability to cook Thanksgiving dinner without your help.’ Now we can never stop,” he said.

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