Here we are in some of the most challenging times, both economically and psychologically, and many are just looking for comfort and a light at the end of the tunnel. As a chef, in moments like this I turn to my craft as a form of catharsis and means to contribute.
Sometimes I cook to put myself in a meditative state and get a weeknight family meal on the table. Other times I’m cooking for large groups in my restaurants, to entertain and bring a moment of delicious joy into their lives. I've even cooked for the sake of advocacy and good food policy from the shores of Mozambique with CARE Foundation, to the State Department hosting prime ministers like Justin Trudeau, and most recently supporting the National Guard and first responders on Capitol Hill.
I feel lucky to have these experiences as a chef, and have always been amazed at how food not only brings people together but also serves as an incredible art form that exploits all of our human senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.
When I partnered with Seth to found Eat the Change, my goal was to bring a chef’s perspective and elevate a typical snack from what’s usually found on the grocery store shelf. However, with our planet-based commitments, I needed to still accomplish these goals and put taste first, while developing recipes that were nutrient dense and totally planet-friendly. This was an exciting challenge and led to the creation of our first product line: an organic mushroom jerky in five delicious flavors. The real game changer… we marinate our portobello and crimini mushrooms and then smoke them with hickory wood to create a super tender and meaty bite.
I’m currently busy in our R&D kitchen working on future iterations of next level snacks. Here’s how I think about our five chef-crafted commitments for each product we develop at Eat the Change:
- Create a snacking experience that is memorable and craveable- We’re going to stand out from the pack of typical snacks on your grocery store shelf and make sure taste is always our number one priority. If you’re not already craving your next bag, we haven’t done our job!
- Design unique flavor profiles to best showcase each ingredient- We’re going to bring a chef’s deep knowledge of ingredients to create perfectly balanced flavor profiles. The hints of smoky paprika or tangy mustard in our jerky? Those were perfectly paired to bring out the rich and earthy flavors in our mushrooms.
- Cultivate personal relationships with farmers to drive inspiration- Some of our best moments of inspiration have happened in conversations with farmers and suppliers. The closer we are to how our foods are grown and produced, the more knowledge we’ll have on how to use them.
- Leverage culinary expertise to play on all the senses- You eat with all your senses. Our products should look as beautiful as they taste and incorporate texture and delicious aromas for an all-encompassing experience.
- Advocate for the planet and a better food system. Food should be a right not a privilege- We’re going to reach far beyond cooking to advocacy.