By: Wendy Meadley, good food evangelist and communications leader collaborating with the James Beard Foundation, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Chefs Collaborative and other leading organizations in the culinary arena.
The event took place at APL, in Hollywood. More than 150 industry notables oversold the event spilling into every space including the kitchen, which became part of the theater of the evening. These chefs, industry professionals and food system thought leaders truly care about how food is produced. I left the event convinced that the Good Food Movement is alive and well in Hollywood and throughout Southern California.
I was heartened as I watched the whole room listen attentively to learn more about Niman Ranch and what makes it unique, especially at a time with lacking transparency and empty commitments in the food sector. If you didn’t know, all Niman Ranch products are 100% Certified Humane®, raised by small, independent U.S. family farmers and ranchers who adhere to some of the strictest animal welfare protocols in the industry. All Niman Ranch products are sustainably raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones – ever.
While the term “all-natural” may seem like a simple statement, it’s no simple thing. It takes great care throughout the entire Niman Ranch process to bring its beef, pork and lamb products to signature events and restaurants like APL.
The much-lauded Adam Perry Lang, was the chef host. He has rewritten the rules of grilling, dry-aging, cooking and consuming meat over the past two decades and was poised and approachable, simultaneously taking time to connect with fellow chefs, media and other event guests. He noted his relationship with Niman Ranch as being based on “trust” and his strong partnership with John Tarpoff, Niman Ranch’s vice president of Beef, who is affectionately known as “the steak whisperer.”
The evening’s menu was outstanding. I had two favorite tasting moments: Adam Perry Lang’s signature Niman Ranch 180+ Day Dry Aged Beef that greeted guests as they arrived and the “Bloomin” Maitake Mushrooms straight from the kitchen’s talented team as part of the night’s special menu.
One of the most memorable moments of my evening was meeting Mary Sue Milliken, industry icon, chef, restaurateur and recent recipient of the Julia Child Award from the Smithsonian Institute. She is also one of the founders of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs and Chefs Collaborative, and has served on the boards of the James Beard Foundation and Share Our Strength. She commented on social media how great an event it was, and indeed that was the case!
Niman Ranch is truly a different animal in the meat industry. It was last year when I was lucky enough to attend the Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner…and it blew me away! During the dinner and associated programming, I visited farms, spoke directly with farmers and the Niman Ranch team and walked away with a renewed faith in our future.
Thanks to this experience, I am now a Niman Ranch evangelist, sharing the good news that there are still good people, brands and transparency in this movement. The names that make us stop and think—in a good way—are ones like Niman Ranch.
I’m excited to continue to partner with Niman Ranch in the Good Food Movement. In May, Niman Ranch will be a part of a Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and James Beard Foundation co-hosted dinner to celebrate women finalists for the Foundation’s prestigious awards. Additionally, Niman Ranch will be a partner in the upcoming Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference in Minneapolis.
I was proud to attend the Niman Ranch Dinner at APL. I am proud to work with the good food movement. And I am proud to see Niman Ranch everywhere I go, as it should be. There aren’t many in the industry that you can say that about!