Our chefs for Grazing at the Kitchen Table are an incredibly passionate and generous group of people that share a similar value set to the farm clients with whom we work. They are deeply committed to making positive change in our food system, seeing far beyond the bottom line of their businesses. Going to the farmers markets, educating and investing in their staff, and curating delicious and warm experiences for their guests are among the heartfelt ways that they express their commitment to a local and sustainable food system.
Recently, I had the pleasure of hearing one of our Grazing chefs, Laurence Jossel of Nopa, speak at a CUESA event. (Laurence participated in our first Grazing last year and has graciously agreed to join us again this September.) During the CUESA presentation, I listened to Laurence describe how he views his role as being an ambassador of the farmers he supports. He visits a farmers market almost everyday and falls in love with all the glorious fruit, vegetables, and proteins, which he then brings back to his staff at the restaurant. For him, it is important that his staff cultivates authentic connections to the farmers so they are able to understand and convey the work and commitment of their growers. This connection is nurtured at NOPA through field trips and farm dinners for staff. In between these farm visits, Laurence encourages his staff’s engagement with local ingredients right at the back door of Nopa. When nectarines are ripe and ready, Laurence can’t help but bring a few cases back from the market for the whole team to taste the season, one juicy bite at a time.
As Laurence demonstrates, our chefs play a precious role in honoring the work of our farmers by thoughtfully preparing their ingredients and allowing them to shine on the plate. During Grazing, they create the fare that brings the entire evening together for our community of donors, volunteers, and champions. What this offers to our guests is connection—to the farmer, to the chef, to each other, and to ourselves.
Thinking about what these chefs contribute to Grazing, I am extremely grateful for their talents and resources. Time and again at Kitchen Table Advisors, we are reminded that people are our most important asset and relationships matter. Owing to this beautiful community of ours, which is always expanding with new relationships, we are fortunate to gather together our Grazing chefs. With each chef introduction, our extended Kitchen Table Advisors family grows with new changemakers. This September at Grazing, I invite you all to come meet our community of chefs—including Chandler and Daniel from Piccino, Laurence from Nopa, Gabriela from Cala, Rebecca from Zuni Café, Sophina from Calavera, Aaron from Petit Crenn, Dennis from Namu Gaji, and Cortney and Nick from Bar Tartine—and taste the connection to our farmers.
Grazing at the Kitchen Table takes place from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at Dogpatch WineWorks in San Francisco. Tickets go on sale in July. Follow #GrazeAndGive2016 for updates.