The Emmy-Award winning actor and the spice brand are awarding a fully-stocked tiny kitchen to Derrick Hayes of Atlanta for his work to feed his community during the pandemic.

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Credit: Courtesy of McCormick®

Just ahead of Thanksgiving, McCormick brand has teamed up with Kansas City native and Emmy-award winning actor, Eric Stonestreet, to honor local heroes through their Tiny Kitchens x Big Meals campaign. They have initially selected three worthy individuals who stepped up and answered the call to help their communities during the ongoing pandemic. Each of the honorees will receive a Tiny Kitchen that will come with everything they need to cook a large, joyful meal for their loved ones.

In a statement, McCormick stated that the Tiny Kitchen x Big Meals will include:

  • A state-of-the-art kitchen with a full-size oven, sink and every appliance and gadget needed for meal preparation
  • A full range of McCormick spices, seasoning mixes, and extracts to make a large meal 
  • McCormick Holiday recipes, including two special recipes from Eric Stonestreet: Dry Brined Turkey Breast with Apple Cider Gravy and Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Butternut Squash
  • A pantry stocked with groceries (including all the needed ingredients for recipes) 
  • Plus, a crew that comes and cleans everything up, freeing recipients from worry and providing them extra time to make memories with their loved ones
Tiny Kitchen Exterior
Credit: Courtesy of McCormick®
Tiny Kitchen Interior 1
Credit: Courtesy of McCormick®

Stonestreet will also connect with each recipient to personally thank them for their dedication to their neighbors. This is something he told Southern Living he finds very rewarding and inspiring.

"My football coach always said, 'character is what you are in the dark.' So it's nice to be able to put a light on people who are doing stuff when nobody's looking."

Of the first three recipients of this Tiny Kitchen x Big Meals package, one is from right here in the South. Derrick Hayes of Atlanta, Georgia, and his restaurant Big Dave's Cheesesteaks fed frontline workers at 40 hospitals across metro Atlanta, hosted free food happy hours for customers, and he also donated $26,000 to help several businesses keep their doors open during this time.

"I'm excited and thankful for the opportunity to be gifted with this Tiny Kitchen to prepare my family's Thanksgiving meal on behalf of McCormick Spices. Due to my father's passing, moments like this are very special as I bring my family together over things we all love, fellowship, family and food," Hayes said in a statement. "Having a Fortune 500 company support my family and honor my community efforts means a lot to me. It feels great having others see my efforts in taking care of others, now they are taking care of me and my family this holiday season," he added.

When Stonestreet isn't busy on the set of a film or television show, or rooting on his beloved Kansas City Chiefs, you'll probably find him in the kitchen. "I love cooking… I've always had a passion for it from my days in 4-H and just using food to make myself and other people happy. And I'm a big spice guy. Love McCormick and creating rubs… So, when McCormick came and said there was an opportunity for us to create some recipes for people to enjoy and then the charitable aspect of it, I just thought what a great, great idea to inspire people to cook and to help other people out."

In the process of developing recipes with McCormick for this special partnership, Stonestreet shared how he finds inspiration in the kitchen. "I told them from the beginning, when it comes to chicken whether I'm cooking it on the grill or turkey when I'm cooking in the oven, I always enjoy some sort of citrus inspiration with fowl. So, we definitely came up with a rub that included a little citrus flavor, and you know, you can't be scared to season that bird and get just exactly the way you want it. I was excited to help create that."

You can check out his recipe for Dry Brined Turkey Breast with Apple Cider Gravy right here. Stonestreet also gave us a decadent vegetable forward side featuring something else he loves, Brussels sprouts. "Brussels sprouts will take on whatever flavor you give them. And so if you cook them correctly and surround them with lots of delicious friends, like the bacon, like the blue cheese, I feel like it's impossible to not like them." Check out his recipe for Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Butternut Squash here

In addition to Hayes, McCormick and Stonestreet are honoring Shirley Raines of Los Angeles and Angela Torres of New York City. Now through November 30, they are also asking the public for help in selecting the next round of heroes in the three cities, by nominating someone that they feel deserves to receive a Tiny Kitchen x Big Meal package during the holiday season using the McCormick Flavor Maker app.

"Through tiny kitchens, we hope to facilitate not only big meals but even bigger memories," said Jill Pratt, Chief Marketing Excellence Officer for McCormick. "It's an honor, that families have been including McCormick spices in their special holiday moments and recipes for generations. This year, we were particularly excited to give back to local community heroes to help them make the perfect meal and memories for years to come."