In Tandem is a new short documentary by the Emmy-Nominated team 1 Girl Revolution and BEHOLD (“The Girl Inside”) featuring the inspiring story of Detroit-born, Milwaukee-based chef Caitlin Cullen and the innovative social project and restaurant she created – The Tandem.
The Tandem is a restaurant located in Lindsay Heights, Milwaukee, a struggling community with an unemployment rate of over 50% – five times the national average. Once a thriving community and a stop on the Underground Railroad, is now a struggling neighborhood after decades of economic strife. When Caitlin decided to open The Tandem, she had a vision to combat the struggles of the people in the community.
“The Tandem is a neighborhood restaurant that offers on the job training for young people who have often not ever had a job before. We don’t discriminate based on race or class, and we definitely don’t discriminate based on criminal record,” said Caitlin Cullen, chef and founder of The Tandem. “I want people to come in and enjoy themselves and not know the social project that we are. But at the same time, I want people to be aware of the social project that The Tandem is, so they can think about doing it themselves.”
In March 2020 when the entire world shutdown, The Tandem expanded its efforts and stopped selling food to paying customers and began distributing free restaurant-quality meals to people in need throughout the community. Caitlin posted on Facebook about the free meals and people began coming to the restaurant to pick-up their meals. Demand was so high that Caitlin needed more support. Other restaurants began partnering with The Tandem, individuals began donating online to financially support this effort, and both Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen and the City of Milwaukee saw what Caitlin and the Tandem were doing – and jumped in to support this life-saving project. Throughout the pandemic, The Tandem hired people that had lost work to help make and distribute the meals, they hired other struggling restaurants and paid them to make meals through the donations they received, and they ended up feeding over 115,000 people throughout the pandemic.
“In Tandem” is the encapsulation of The Tandem story. 1 Girl Revolution and BEHOLD filmed at the bustling restaurant at its height in 2019 and then went back to film during the pandemic to highlight the life-giving work of The Tandem during the Covid pandemic. WATCH “In Tandem” on YouTube here:
“People ask me all the time, “Why are you doing this?” I’m like, well, because I should,” Cullen concluded. “I’m going to do it until I can’t anymore and then someone will be ready.”