“Farm to table” dining may have become commonplace on Chicago’s restaurant menus. But Chef Paul Virant was in the vanguard of the movement just 13 years when he opened Vie restaurant in the suburb of Western Springs. And he is all about giving back to the community. Within a recent three-day span, Paul did a cooking demo with the Gardeneers audience for schoolchildren in Englewood, then was the honoree for Angelic Organics Learning Center at their annual dinner.
FamilyFarmed salutes longtime associate Kim Bartko, and wishes her success, as she steps aside to focus on her new business venture: Outbound Lab, which seeks to advance the Good Food movement in the U.S. and around the world by forging partnerships between foreign food innovators and domestic food businesses.
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.
John Des Rosiers was still in his early 30s when he opened Inovasi, a highly regarded restaurant in the Chicago North Shore suburb of Lake Bluff. Yet he already had many years in the kitchen behind him. In fact, it would not be a wild exaggeration to say he was born to be a chef. Read about his career and dedication to sourcing from local farmers in the latest installment of the “Farm to Table: Keeping It Real” series.
We at FamilyFarmed are all about encouraging our readers to become farmers market customers — if they are not already — and enjoy the super-healthy, nutritious and delicious products sold by their local and regional growers. That is why we have an annual tradition of welcoming National Farmers Market Week with an article full of tips about how to save money at farmers markets.
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.
The Mayan Café presents traditional cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula that since 2007 has delighted diners (and reviewers) in the restaurant row in Louisville’s East Market District, a.k.a. NuLu. And they have done so in part by going all in on sourcing ingredients as locally as possible, a decision that made them a farm-to-table front-runner in Kentucky’s most populous city. Good Food on Every Table is pleased to present a q-and-a with Shadle and Ucan as our first out-of-Chicago article in our “Farm to Table: Keeping It Real” series.
Last year, FamilyFarmed welcomed the first-ever James Beard culinary awards to Chicago with an article providing the sweep of Good Food activities in our hometown. So with the JBF Awards coming back to town on May 2, the best second helping we could think of is this rundown of the biggest Good Food developments in Chicagoland over the past year.
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.
SAAGE Culinary Studio in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois, is a shared-use commercial kitchen providing startup food businesses with access to all the commercial grade equipment that they need to make their products. Owner Gayatri Borthakur discusses the philosophy behind the business, which will be a participant in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference.
Many of those involved in the Good Food movement believe that craft distilling deserves to be considered part of it, but the question has been raised about whether a distilled spirit needs to contain ingredients produced by local farmers in order to be considered truly local. Many producers now are touting local sourcing as a major selling point.
Farm Aid’s effort to assist family farmers and expand the Good Food movement continue year-round, so the organization started by big-hearted music legends isn’t just about the music. But Farm Aid’s annual benefit concert is what made it famous. And the 30th anniversary concert they staged in our hometown of Chicago on Saturday was one hell of a show.
As always, the Farm Aid concert held Saturday in Chicago was one of the entertainment events of the year, featuring founders Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp, fellow Board member Dave Matthews, and numerous other great performers. But as this photo essay by Good Food on Every Table shows, Farm Aid is about much more than the music.
Chicago has been something of a laboratory for the rise of the Good Food movement. Yet there has been one element of the movement that has been largely missing in Chicago: food cooperatives. Until now.
Foods and beverages carrying a “local” label appear poised to become the leading symbol of trust and transparency to consumers as the authenticity halo of such terms as ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ lose momentum, claims market analyst The Hartman Group — as reported by the FoodNavigator-USA.com website.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture kicked off the 16th annual Farmers Market Week Sunday, announcing a 64 percent increase in customer traffic in markets open for at least two years.
There are so many reasons to go out with your shopping bags during National Farmers Market Week and celebrate the rapid rise in the number of farmers markets across the nation. One of them may surprise you.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” says the longtime motto of the U.S. Postal Service. If Thursday evening’s annual Chef BBQ staged by Chicago’s Green City Market is an indication, that applies as well to connoisseurs — at least as when it comes to rain.
Can a rich dessert be considered Good Food? It can when it is Eli’s Cheesecake and its owner, Marc Schulman, is a strong supporter of the Good Food movement and makes the effort to source from local producers when it is possible to do so.
Good Food on Every Table recently invited readers across the country to share their stories about the Good Food scene in their hometowns. We want to thank Patty Rubeck of DeKalb, Illinois — founder of “Eat Local DeKalb” — for being the first to accept the invitation.