Interview of the Week: Danielle Leoni, Sustainable Chef and Restaurant Owner

Danielle Leoni is the Co-Owner and Chef of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar in Phoenix and a leader in the sustainability movement in the food world.  She is also a nominee for the 2020 Best Chef, Southwest from the James Beard Foundation. Here are a few highlights from her interview!

On the James Beard Foundation’s “Smart Catch” Program

“The Beard Foundation really put their efforts behind realizing that our responsibility [as chefs]  is not just to plate up beautiful food…our responsibility is much greater than that, and to help us realize that…we play a pivotal role in the health of our oceans, our fisheries, and our economy.”

On Teaching Sustainable Sourcing in Culinary Schools

“Culinary instructors are concerned about it and because there are chefs like me across the nation that are very forward-facing on social media and speak out often, more of our youth is asking for it…they are walking up to their culinary instructor and asking for [sustainable sourcing of food]…it just has to become normal, starting with small conversations and that does not take much effort at all.”

On How Is She Staying Busy While Her Restaurant Is Closed

“The Breadfruit & Rum Bar has been a platform for change in the guise of a really great Jamaican restaurant.  We are just continuing the work we have always done.  The door is not open for the regular public but we are open behind the scenes. For the past month, I have been working in partnership with World Central Kitchen and their local division called Frontline Foods in Phoenix to feed families in need…we are helping families experiencing tough times…so we made meal kits…we bought 100% local Arizona goods…every bit of it was responsibility grown, raised, harvested…We prepared it 75% of the way through so families could cook together and eat together.”

Thanks so much, Danielle, and thank you for all you are doing to help feed those in need in your community during these tough times, and for teaching us about sustainable food!  You can follow Danielle on Twitter @DanielleLeoniAZ and on Instagram @chefdanielleleoni and her restaurant on Twitter @TheBreadfruit.

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