Slow Food Nations
Changing the world one plate at a time
By Andra Zeppelin
How do you change the world through food? Slow Food Nations, a food festival in its second year that just wrapped up on Sunday, explored this question over three days of events in Denver, Colorado. With the Food for Change theme, Slow Food explored the vision, commitment, and motivation of chefs, restaurateurs, diners, farmers, and other food advocates and enthusiasts to make a real difference in the world.
Luminaries from across the world engaged in these discussions. Chefs who flew in just for this include Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana (recently named #1 restaurant in the world, according to “World’s 50 Best”), James Beard award-winning chefs Rick Bayless (of Good Food 100 restaurants Frontera Grill, Topolobambo, and XOCO), Alon Shaya (Saba in New Orleans and soon-to-open Safta in Denver), and Steven Satterfield ( of Good Food 100 Miller Union in Atlanta, Georgia). Many local Good Food 100 chefs were at the forefront of panel discussions and events including a Farmers Market After-Party hosted by the Good Food 100 Restaurants featuring Colorado farmers and chefs Jennifer Jasinski ( of Good Food 100 Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall, Stoic & Genuine, and Ultreia in Denver), Paul Reilly (of Good Food 100 Beast + Bottle, Coperta), Alex Seidel (of Good Food 100 Fruition, Mercantile Dining & Provision in Denver), Nohe Weir-Villarosa ( of Good Food 100 Old Major in Denver), and Kelly Whitaker (of Good Food 100 Basta and soon-to-open The Wolf's Tailor in Denver).
The beauty of this festival truly is in the balance between substance and fun. On the first day, an all-day leadership summit engaged participants in an inspiring panel discussion on the future of food led by Deb Eschmeyer (former Executive Director of Michelle Obama's Let's Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy), as well as breakout sessions where participants could learn about such topics such as the United States farm bill and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Serious (and at times uncomfortable) conversations were complemented by light-hearted and still educational cooking demonstrations. From the Colorado Fare open air welcome party on Friday to the Global Street Food Social on Saturday, and the Zero Waste dinner on Sunday, there was plenty of good food to eat and drink too.
As for the future, and how to affect change whether you’re in the food industry or not, there are some ideas. Good Food 100 chefs Jennifer Jasinski and Steven Satterfield joined Josh Drage (The Ranch at Rock Creek, a Relais & Chateux luxury ranch in Philipsburg, Montana) on a panel moderated by Good Food 100 founder Sara Brito discussing transparency in the restaurant industry. As they followed a discussion that featured chefs Bottura and Bayless on how to affect change through their roles in the food world, these three chefs shared their call to others in the industry: “Do what you say you do,” said Satterfiled, “Give a shit, do something” added Jasinski; create change “one plate at a time,” concluded Drage.
The inspiring weekend concluded with an Industry After-Party co-hosted by the Good Food 100 Restaurants, Heritage Radio Network, and Slow Food USA for all of the participating chefs, speakers, and volunteers at industry favorite Cart-Driver in Denver.
Special thank you to our in kind event sponsors: