The Faces of the Slow Food Chefs Alliance in California – Supporting the Menu for Change
Jan. 24, 2018
Slow Food USA relaunched the Chefs' Alliance in the US at Slow Food Nations in July in Denver. This fall the “Slow Food Menu for Change” campaign gave chefs a platform to work together to address food and climate change. No surprise, longtime Slow Food leaders in California had a jump on it and are leading the way. For more information about bringing the Chefs' Alliance to your community (or for joining an existing group) contact Julia Kendrick Conway.
Julia Kendrick Conway
Having joined Slow Food in 2001, I became a member of the original International Chef’s Alliance at Cheese 2003 in Bra, Italy. There was never very much activity here in the US, so it slipped below the radar until I was contacted by a local winery to do a menu for a sustainability press event. They had gotten my name from Slow Food International. My catering company, Assaggiare Mendocino, has been preparing Good, Clean and Fair (and local) food since founding in 1999. Right around the same time, I got an email from Slow Food USA asking for signups for the “new” Slow Food Chef’s Alliance, and I joined immediately.
This fall, representing Slow Food Mendocino County, we prepared a dish based on Ark of Taste foods supplied by Anson Mills, and presented it at a community cooking class for the Slow Food Menu for Change and Meatless Mondays campaign. We prepared a version of Hoppin’ John dubbed “Hoppin’ Jane,” featuring local market produce and wild foraged chanterelles. The dish was a runaway hit, even though the Ark of Taste ingredients arrived in the mail too late, but we looked forward to participating in the next round later that fall.
We are looking forward to Slow Food Nations and the next Terra Madre. I attended Terra Madre in 2014, and it was incredible to connect with colleagues from around the world. Hopefully we can raise awareness of Ark of Taste ingredients and traditional foodways in our day to day offerings, as we did with these campaigns.
Owner and Executive Chef, Assaggiare Mendocino
Leader, Slow Food Mendocino County
Ed started his restaurant career prepping food and scrubbing pots at age 14. His culinary adventures took him from Sacramento to the Bay Area, Chicago to Hawaii. Ed spent a year in a small trattoria in Venice, Italy, where he absorbed a solid repertoire of Italian classics and Venetian specialties. Ed is chef and owner of Magpie Café in Downtown Sacramento. He proudly displays the Snail of Approval awarded by Slow Food Sacramento and is one of the first recipients, setting the standard for Good, Clean, and Fair in Sacramento (which proclaims itself America’s Farm to Fork Capital!).
Here’s Ed’s description of the Sacramento Slow Food Chefs' Alliance group, which he brought to Slow Food Nations and which has participated in the Meatless Monday and Menu for Change campaigns:
“The snailchefs916 group is a reason to get together and collaborate with other cooks that share values of Good, Clean and Fair Food for All. In 2017 here in Sacramento we came together to support the local art scene, raised money for the local chapter and participated in the 2017 Meatless Monday Menu for Change. All that was great, but for me one of the most important benefits of the group is getting to know other chefs out there in the community, here in Sacramento, around the country and the world.
“Over the past two years I have had the opportunity to travel to Terra Madre in Turin, Italy and to Slow Foods Nations in Denver. Getting to experience the movement on the national and international levels was nothing short of transformative. Local chefs should make the trek.”
Owner and Chef Magpie Café Sacramento
Slow Food Sacramento Board, Terra Madre and Slow Food Nations delegate