It all started eight years ago at the 9th annual Farmer Appreciation Dinner. The first Next Generation Scholarship was given to a few children of our farmers with the intent of helping them pay for college so they could return to the farm. In its first year, the scholarship totaled $6,000.
Today, the Next Generation Scholarship has grown to support 23 students with over $85,000 in funds for college – an amount that wouldn’t be possible without the support of chefs who work hard to raise money across the country. This includes chefs like Gio Osso of Nico Heirloom Kitchen and Virtu Honest Craft in the greater Phoenix area.
Gio was selected by Sterling Food Service as one of five featured chefs to attend the 17th annual Farmer Appreciation Dinner this August. His commitment to serving sustainably and humanely raised meats outpaces that of most chefs. Combined with his deep family values and incredible talent in the kitchen, Gio was the perfect choice to come cook for over 300 farmers in Iowa during this event.
But cooking in honor of our farmers wasn’t enough. Gio was inspired to host a fundraising brunch to support the Next Generation Scholarship Fund. He gathered seven of Phoenix and Scottsdale’s most talented chefs and hosted the 8 Chefs 1 Cause brunch on Sunday, July 24, 2016, at his newest restaurant, Nico Heirloom Kitchen.
We were lucky enough to have the following chefs cook at this event using our all-natural, high quality meats. Each chef chose a different cut or protein:
Course 1: Biscuits & Gravy by Chef Josh Herbert, Posh Improvisational Cuisine
Course 2: Maple Pork Rillette Benedict, Chef Gio Osso
Course 3: Lambchetta by Chef Bernie Kantak, Citizen Public House & The Gladly
Course 4: Smoked Tri Tip by Chef Scott Holmes, Little Miss BBQ
Course 5: Hot Pig Cheeks by Chef Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
Course 6: Teriyaki Bone Marrow by Chef Cullen Campbell, Crudo & Okra
Course 7: Lamb Green Chili Hash by Chef Jacob Cutino, Homeboy’s Hot Sauce
Course 8: Crispy Pork Trotters by Chef Justin Beckett, Beckett’s Table & Souther Rail
For dessert, Nico’s own Chef Clarissa Robinson made a gorgeous peach dish with herbs, sweet cream and a light shortbread. It was the perfect way to top off this exquisite brunch experience!
Guests were able to not only donate by their meal purchase. They also had the chance to make a private donation or purchase a Niman Ranch logo T-shirt or hat at the event.
On behalf of all 23 scholarship recipients, we want to extend a tremendous Thank You to all the chefs who worked so hard to raise money at such an important fundraiser. This event also would not have been possible without the support of local Phoenix-area community members to came out in the 115 degree heat to dine for a cause.
Learn more about the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation and see how it impacts the next generation of farmers.