Good Food Award

Posted on January 23, 2015

Craig and I had the honor of accepting a Good Food Award for Bent River a few weeks back in San Francisco.

The Good Food Awards began five years ago. Founder Sarah Weiner wanted to recognize small artisan producers who not only made good things, but made every effort to source ingredients in an ethical, thoughtful, and humane way.

Sarah spent a number of years working for Slow Food International, then moved on to assist Alice Waters, the founder of the world renowned (and game-changing American) restaurant Chez Panisse. She started the Good Food Awards in 2010, and each year it has grown in size and prestige.

Consider the keynote speaker and judges: Mark Bittman, author and op-ed writer for the New York Times; Ruth Reichl, former food critic for the LA and New York Times, former editor of Gourmet Magazine and best-selling author; Nell Newman, head of Newman Organics and daughter of a couple of fairly well-known actors; and the grande dame, Alice Waters herself. For a guy who spends an inordinate amount of time reading and thinking about food, these are my all stars, my heroes. Serious goosebumps emerged when they took the stage.

The ceremony recognized makers in 12 categories: charcuterie, beer, and pickles to name a few. The cheesemakers were the last group. We accepted our awards and after a brief wrap-up, the doors to the room swung open and the party began. All of the winners’ products were available to taste, and it was a real joy to sample so much good food–and drink.

Like many people, cheesemakers are often sequestered and immersed in their own small bubbles. We toil and worry and wait, we clean and sterilize and scrub, over and over again. And we do it with joy and purpose, because as Hyman Roth says in Godfather II, “This is the business we have chosen.”

So nights like the Good Food Awards are rare. It was wonderful to be recognized, doubly so because my brother and a number of my dearest friends were there to share it with me. Affirmation is a powerful thing, and Craig and I are both truly grateful for the attention. We’d be doing what we do regardless, but every now and then, when you are bone-tired at the end of a long day at the end of an extra long week, you glance at an an award and it makes you feel proud and lucky.

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