A Better Tray Every Day: Phoenix Chefs Rising for a Common Cause

In spring 2017, a small group of Phoenix chefs joined forces to become better advocates for childhood nutrition and food education.

On a cloudy April morning, FnB’s Charleen Badman called together a handful of Arizona’s culinary leaders for a workshop with Katherine Miller of the James Beard Foundation’s Chef Action Network. Fueled by nourishing food and local wines, they spent the day learning the tools necessary to engage more powerfully in the local for a common cause.

While recruiting more allies over the next few months, the group worked together to determine the most effective ways to make an impact in their community. After gathering information from stakeholders including childhood nutrition professionals and, of course, students themselves, they settled on a plan to spark change from the ground up.

They came as chefs. They left as champions for a common cause.

Now operating under the umbrella of the Phoenix chapter of Slow Food, these chefs raise money to help schools and school districts to rethink relationships with food. They go into the classroom to teach kids about the importance of nutritious food and where that food comes from. They provide resources for educators and parents so their work at schools can be reinforced at home.

Today the group includes some of the state’s top chefs such as Chris Bianco, Tracy Dempsey, Justin Beckett, Aaron Chamberlin, Doug Robson, Danielle Leoni, Sacha Levine, Sasha Raj, Casey Lynn-Hopkins, Aric Mei and many more.

Their goal is to foster a better food system and they believe it starts with a better tray, everyday.

Following along on their journey here on the Slow Food Phoenix website, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.