Good Food Success Stories
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.
Jason Hammel of the critically acclaimed Lula Café is a rarity among Chicago’s top chefs, in that he did not learn the craft in the kitchens of culinary legends. Jason is essentially self-taught. But he counts Chicago legends such as Rick Bayless, Paul Kahan and Matthias Merges as his role models and mentors. Like them, he has played a major role in sourcing from local and regional farmers. We are honored to have Jason as a participating chef at 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.
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.
Matthias Merges is one of the most important figures in the rise of Chicago to its status as a world-class culinary capital. after a 14-year stint at Charlie Trotter’s — the last 12 of those at the world-renowned restaurant’s chef de cuisine — Matthias went out his own in 2010, and soon after opened Yusho, focused on Japanese street food, and it quickly became the flagship of his extensive Folkart restaurant group. Matthias will be a participating chef at the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration fundraiser on April 30 at The Art Institute of Chicago
Seed 2 Growth Ventures — known more familiarly as S2G — is breaking new ground as a Chicago-based venture capital firm providing capital to cutting-edge food, restaurant and agriculture businesses in the Good Food sector. This innovative “Soil to Shelf” investment model is the reason why FamilyFarmed will present S2G Ventures with its 2017 Good Food Business of the Year Award on Thursday, at its annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference at Chicago’s UIC Forum.
The Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference this Thursday (March 16) kicks off FamilyFarmed’s 13th Good Food Festival & Conference — the nation’s longest-running annual event focused on locally and sustainably produced food. Here are our five top reasons to attend
Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp of Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken will jointly receive FamilyFarmed’s 2017 Good Food Chef of the Year Award on March 18 at the Good Food Festival — not only for their delicious food, but because of their sustainable and local sourcing and their social conscience.
Though known as a “celebrity chef,” Chicago’s Rick Bayless much prefers to talk about food than to talk about himself. So it was no surprise when he turned an acceptance speech into a loving tribute to the late Julia Child — the TV chef and author who Bayless credits with shaping his culinary career — when he received the second-ever Julia Child Foundation Award at a dinner at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 27.
Rick Bayless received the second-ever Julia Child Award at a ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. His speech, marked by humility, focused less on himself than on the huge impact Julia Child had on his own career and on the nation’s food culture. Please enjoy the transcript of his speech.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator held on event to promote applications for its next program session, which runs from November to April. And the four program grads who took part in a panel discussion agreed: Entrepreneurs seeking to scale up their small Good Food business and dramatically expand their networks should apply.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food on Every Table website is launching a new series titled “Growing Young Farmers.” This series will provide a platform for members of this new generation to discuss why they have chosen farming, the opportunities that motivate them, and the challenges as well. And we could not be happier to kick off the series than with this following essay written by Kara Gunthorp of Indiana’s Gunthorp Farms, a leader in sustainable livestock production.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator GFBA is accepting applications through Sept. 19 for its third cohort of competitively selected Fellows in its intensive six-month program, which will run from November to April.
Jenny Yang and her Phoenix Tofu company in Chicago are shining examples of how FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator helps food and farm entrepreneurs build their businesses. Yang is launching a major expansion in response to fast-rising demand, which was the subject of a recent profile in the Chicago Tribune. We have republished an article we wrote about her and Phoenix Tofu last year, with a link to the Tribune story.
There are few people in the restaurant business who have kept farm to table real better — or longer — than Chicago’s Helen and Mike Cameron. They opened Uncommon Ground in 1991 and ever since have been blazing trails in providing diners with locally and sustainable produced food. Read about their ahead-of-the-curve experiences and their 25th anniversary events in the latest installment of our “Farm to Table: Keeping It Real” series.
Paul Kahan, a winner of a James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef of the Year award, has built his career around his dedication to sourcing sustainably produced ingredients, as locally as possible, for his restaurants’ kitchens. Family Farmed and Good Food on Every Table are pleased to present this profile and q-and-a with Kahan to kick off our new “Farm to Table: Keeping It Real” series.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference is coming up Thursday at Chicago’s UIC Forum, and it is a must-do for anyone with an interest in the business of the fast-growing Good Food movement. The event — which makes up the first day of the three-day, 12th annual Good Food Festival & Conference — has an amazing lineup of farm and food entrepreneurs, industry leaders, thought leaders and policy makers.
Rob Levitt of The Butcher & Larder at Local Foods, one of Chicago’s leading butcher shops, is conducting a ham-curing workshop at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival on March 26. Read here about Levitt’s love of ham, his dedication to providing the highest quality products, and his devotion to consumer education about meat.
Chicago chef Paul Kahan has long been known for the culinary excellence of the successful and high-profile restaurants in the One Off Hospitality Group, currently at eight locations and growing. His kitchen mastery earned him the James Beard Foundation (JBF) Outstanding Chef Award in 2013. He was inducted into JBF’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage […]
Farm Aid publishes a series of profiles on its website of “Farmer Heroes.” Their most recent profile is of Darius Jones, a young Chicagoan and friend of FamilyFarmed, for whom the “hero” title is apt. A troubled youth that resulted in him being incarcerated also set him on the path to the cutting edge of urban agriculture in his hometown.