The initial GoFundMe goal for Beirut restaurant Le Chef was set at an attainable $13,000.
Within 24 hours of its launch, however, the restaurant has raised close to $15,000 — and its largest donation comes from a notable name.
While most donations hover around the $20 mark, actor Russell Crowe donated $5,000.
Using his full name, Crowe’s generous donation got the attention of organizers Richard Hall and Amanda Bailly.
Hall took to Twitter on August 12, tagging Russell Crowe: “Someone called Russell Crowe made a very generous donation to our Le Chef fundraiser. But not sure it’s *the* @russellcrowe.”
Crowe took credit for the donation, responded to Hall’s tweet a few hours later: “On behalf of Anthony Bourdain. I thought that he would have probably done so if he was still around. I wish you and LeChef the best and hope things can be put back together soon.”
Bourdain, who died in 2018, traveled to Beirut in 2006 for his Travel Channel show “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.”
Le Chef, a local joint with a mostly Lebanese menu, was battered in last week’s massive Beirut blast. The restaurant is in need of window repair, electrical wiring fixes and new kitchen equipment that was destroyed in the explosion.
The new GoFundMe goal is set for $15,000, with the additional money said to support the staff while the restaurant remains closed during extensive repairs. The fund was less than $650 away from the goal around 5:15 p.m. ET Thursday.
The organizers could not immediately be reached for comment.
At the time Bourdain and his “No Reservations” crew were in Beirut, Israel and Lebanon were on the onset of war.
The Travel Channel’s synopsis of the 2006 episode where Bourdain visited Le Chef and then no other restaurants while filming, reads: “From their initial glimpse, to the destruction that followed, ‘Bourdain in Beirut’ is the story of what Anthony and his crew saw and experienced during their 9 days in the country.”
Bourdain returned to Beirut in 2015 for an episode of CNN’s “Parts Unknown.”
As he put it, “And yet I’d already fallen in love with Beirut. We all had — everyone on my crew. As soon as we’d landed, headed into town, there was a reaction I can only describe as pheromonic: The place just smelled good. Like a place we were going to love.”