Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Meat Matters and Blue Tequila

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Meat Matters and Blue Tequila

Article excerpt



After two successful "trashfish dinner" focused on local and sustainable seafood, Stephen Phelps - chef/owner of Indigenous - has planned another educational dining experience for Monday night called "Meat Matters."

"We thought we needed a dinner dedicated to learning about animal husbandry and how meat is raised and what we're using," says Phelps. "A few years ago everyone was into Certified Angus, then Kobe beef, now people are realizing that they've got those animals stacked on top of one another, and people just seem to care a little more now."

Phelps is a member of Chefs Collaborative, a national organization that engages chefs in a network that inspires and educates them to change how they source, cook and serve food. Chefs Collaborative held the first Meat Matters dinner in Chicago, which then branched out to other major cities. Like with the trashfish dinners, Sarasota is punching above its weight by holding this Meat Matters event, which you can see once you get a look at the guest list for Monday's event.

"Paul Willis of Niman ranch will be flying in," says Phelps. "The founder of Joyce Farms is coming as well, and the president of High Plains Bison."

It helps that Phelps has a few national contacts of his own. Earlier this year he was invited to cook at the Niman Ranch Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner in Iowa and after an intensive application process became a "Local Leader" with Chefs Collaborative.

"A while back I looked into it and found that there were 24 Chefs Collaborative members in Florida, and 16 of them were in Sarasota," says Phelps. "A lot of people jumped on after the trashfish dinner and now I get calls all the time from chefs who are trying to make changes in their restaurant."

Seven chefs from local restaurants - including Phelps from Indigenous, Mark Woodruff from Made, Jose Rojas from Louies Modern, Mattisons, Evan Gastman from The Cottage, Jamil Pineda from Michael's On East, and Marc Brediger from Drunken Poet - will be at Meat Matters cooking dishes featuring humanely raised meat and explaining why they use it. During the meal, the guests from Niman Ranch and others will show a presentation explaining what the difference is between their products and mass-market to consumers. …

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