Stephanie Izard graduated from University of Michigan in 1998 uncertain about her career path, and her father encouraged her to give culinary school a try. Over the past 17 years, the Chicago and national food scenes have owed Stephanie’s dad their gratitude. Her restaurant Girl & The Goat earned her a James Beard Award in 2013, and she has expanded to her Little Goat Diner and Chinese-themed Duck Duck Goat. Stephanie is a chef-participant in Sunday’s Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration fundraiser at The Art Institute of Chicago, and a lucky bidder in the event’s online silent auction will get to dine at each of her three restaurants.
or many years, Ming’s parents — both immigrants from China — owned, and his mother ran, a restaurant in Dayton, Ohio, called Mandarin Kitchen. Ming worked there during his teen years and showed his obvious talent and passion for cooking. But… this is an ethnic food story with a twist: The reason Ming’s family settled in Dayton was because his father was an aerospace engineer who worked at the nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Ming initially embarked to follow in his footsteps, earning a degree in mechanical engineering at Yale University. But cooking was never far from his mind, and he embarked on a career that led to his two successful Asian cuisine restaurants in the Boston area and a long career as a TV chef.
The folks attending the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration fundraiser on April 30 at The Art Institute of Chicago will be able to bid on some mind-boggling prizes, including a food field trip to Mexico with Chef Rick Bayless, whose 30 years of achievement is being celebrated at the event. But guess what? You can bid for all of those prizes too. That’s because the auction, already under way, is taking place online, and you can compete wherever you are. All you have to do is visit the auction portal, click the prizes your heart desires, and bid.
Mindy Gohr knew from childhood that she wanted to be a pastry chef. She left her family’s dairy farm in Wisconsin to attend the Cordon Bleu culinary school in Chicago, and it did not take long for her to get the big break that has been her career-maker: an internship working at Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Café for founder-owner Judy Contino, one of Chicago’s leading pastry chefs. And in 2015, when Contino decided to move into semi-retirement, Mindy became co-owner. She also will be participating in the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration, a joint fundraiser for Chef Rick Bayless‘ Frontera Farmer Foundation and FamilyFarmed, which will be held at The Art Institute of Chicago on Sunday, April 30.
Many people who have worked in Chef Rick Bayless’ kitchen since he opened Frontera Grill 30 years ago have gone on to their own success as chefs and restaurateurs. But among those who have worked for Rick, few — if any — have benefited more than Anselmo Ramirez, chef-owner of Chicago’s popular Ixcateco Grill, where he combines the Mexican food knowledge he gained from his grandmother with the restaurant craft he learned while working for 13 years in Rick Bayless’ kitchens… starting as a 17-year-old dishwasher. Anselmo will participate in the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration fundraiser on April 30 at The Art Institute of Chicago.
We often highlight the potential for Good Food businesses to revitalize economically challenged communities and improve the lives of those who live there. Few businesses combine both of those elements in one person as much as Chicago’s Westside Bee Boyz. Founder Thad Smith’s beekeeping and honey company is still quite small, but he has big dreams for the company. He views it as a platform for community and young entrepreneur development in North Lawndale and other troubled communities in Chicago.
The Good Food Trade Show & Policy Conference is coming up at Chicago’s UIC Forum on Friday, the middle day of FamilyFarmed’s three-day Good Food Festival & Conference. Here’s a quick tour of the top 5 reasons to attend on Friday.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference reflects the values of the Good Food movement: increasing access to food produced locally as possible using sustainable, humane and fair practices, to build a healthier, more sustainable and more economically dynamic food system. It also reflects the amazing diversity of this nation’s food and farm entrepreneurs, both demographically and in the types, styles and ethnic origins of food they produce.
Kefir is a probiotic fermented dairy drinkthat originated in Russia in the 19th century and only recently has developed a growing consumer market in the United States. The main catalyst for the rising interest in this product is Lifeway Kefir, started in 1986 by Soviet refugee Michael Smolyansky and today run by his children. Julie Smolyansky, the company’s CEO, writes here about the family’s gratitude to the United States; she will participate on a panel about Big Food’s Embrace of Good Food at FamilyFarmed’s Financing & Innovation Conference on March 16.
Chicago’s Pleasant House pubs is best known for its flaky, savory Royal Pies. Owners Art and Chelsea Jackson are Fellows in the current cohort of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator and will participate in our Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference. Their restaurant, located just a mile away, will be open during the three-day Good Food Festival & Conference.
There are no guarantees for entrepreneurs launching new food ventures. But success can come amazingly fast when a food startup hits the sweet spot — or the sweet and savory spot in the case of Simple Mills, the Chicago-based company that produces a variety of nutrient-dense, grain-free baking mixes and crackers (and will be exhibiting at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Trade Show and Good Food Festival.
“Good Food movement” and “Local Food movement” are virtually synonymous to a lot of people. Yet the rising tide of consumer demand for Good Food is prompting more and more retailers, wholesalers and chefs to think globally while they act locally. This issue will be examined by the “Does Good Food Need to Be Local” panel at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference on March 16.
Lisa Kivirist and John D. Ivanko own a farm bed & breakfast in Wisconsin, produce their own jarred products, and are the authors of several books including Homemade for Sale. They share their tips for product labeling that sells, and will be exhibiting at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival on March 18.
by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed Kitchfix, a Chicago-based company, grew out of Chef Josh Katt’s previous career preparing highly nutritious and functional meals for customers who were fighting cancer. He maintained those health-first principles as he grew his home meal delivery service and a packaged goods division centered on Paleo, grain-free granola in a variety of flavors. […]
Though hard cider still makes up a relatively small percentage of the overall U.S. adult beverage market, it has for several years been one of its fastest-growing sectors. And while FamilyFarmed regards craft cider as part of the Good Food movement, it was gratifying to see — while making the tasting rounds at Chicago’s Cider Summit — that more and more producers are wearing their local and sustainable values on their sleeves.
This is national Meat Week. We at FamilyFarmed advocate for foods, including meat, that are produced as locally as possible using sustainable, humane and fair practices. So who better to help us inform readers about why this is important than Chicago’s Rob Levitt, whose store The Butcher & Larder embeds those principles in how they source and sell their beef, pork, lamb and poultry.
The promise of healthier snack food alone would have made Chicago’s Tea Squares an excellent candidate for FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator. But Tea Squares’ social mission — which includes creating jobs and stimulating economic growth in its challenged South Side community — was a clincher.
Interest in a better way to eat is ingrained in the culinary culture in Chicago. So the Jean Banchet Culinary Awards ceremony — which doubles as a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation — is always a good day for Good Food.
Those of us who are fully engaged in the Good Food movement get to work with a whole lot of bold people. But the co-founders of Rumi Spice, veterans of the Afghan war, are in a league of their own: They pay Afghan farmers a premium to grow flowers that produce saffron rather than the opium poppies that produce deadly heroin and finance terrorist organizations.
The spice mixes and recipes developed by the zen of slow cooking help busy people make easy slow cooker meals that enable them and their families to have delicious dinners waiting for them when they get home. And owners Meg Barnhart and Jane McKay continue their mission to provide employment and cooking lessons for developmentally challenged adults.