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Rotating Evening Chef Program Offers Versatility for Diners!

Hartford, CT, March 6, 2024: For the month of MARCH, in addition to the regular Gather55 menu, Joe Cusano, Head Chef at Le Mazet will be adding a few fun dishes including:

APPETIZER: Steak Tartare, Panisse + Quail egg

ENTREE: Coq Au Vin D’Alsace, White Wine + Mushroom

DESSERT: Hazelnut Creme Brulee, Hazelnut + shortbread

“At Le Mazet, we wanted to give back to the community,” offered Chef Joe Cusano. “Our Team at Le Mazet treats everyone who walks into the door like family and we wanted to give some of that love back into the community.”

With a “pay-what-you-can” philosophy, Gather55 Restaurant, an initiative under Hands on Hartford offers various dining options throughout the day. Breakfast and lunch patrons may participate by paying the full posted price of the meals or a minimum price of $3.00, or participate by choosing to volunteer time with Hands On Hartford, depending on your ability to pay that day. Wednesday through Saturday, white table cloths, a curated wine selection and a two or three-course prix fixe menu created by rotating guest chefs welcome diners. Dinner service is another avenue for Hands on Hartford to raise money to support their overall initiatives.

During the day, services staff at Hands On Hartford and partnering agencies will have “on the house” meal vouchers to help support those who are not able to pay or volunteer. In the evening, diners who would like to dine at no charge should send an email to or call or text 860-929-2316 and make a request at least 24 hours in advance. Patrons may order food to go.

About Hands on Hartford

Hands On Hartford, in partnership with others, strengthens the community in Hartford in our Center for Community at 55 Bartholomew Avenue in Hartford. Breakfast/Lunch is served Mon-Thurs from 9:00 am-2:00 pm. Dinner service is Wednesday – Saturday 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm. You can find more information on Facebook and Instagram.

Chef Joe Cusano Bio

My love for cooking stems from childhood, watching my mom prepare elaborate Sunday dinners in our Italian household and growing up on a farm, where we raised animals and crops for our meals. This upbringing instilled a deep appreciation for food. I honed my skills at Johnson & Wales University, studying Culinary Arts and food service management for 4 years. Afterward, I gained experience at various local restaurants in Southington before spending 11 years at Max Downtown, refining my craft. Now, as the executive chef at Le Mazet in West Hartford, I continue to grow and innovate in this new culinary venture.