On August 28th, Chef Tyson Grant of the Parkshore Grill and Chef Jason Cline of The Birchwood joined culinary forces to raise money for the Next Generation Scholarship Fund in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tyson, who first came up with the concept, hosts several fundraisers at the Parkshore Grill each the year. “As chefs, we really love doing these kinds of events,” says Tyson. “When we can successfully put something together and raise money at the same time, it’s fun for us.”
The Parkshore Grill was the first Niman Ranch-branded restaurant in the Tampa area, starting back in 2007. With Jason now serving our products just blocks away, Tyson felt it was only natural to work together. He even was the one to suggest we invite Jason as a featured chef to the Farmer Appreciation Dinner, where Tyson himself was featured just a few years back. Jason was ultimately chosen this year, and he did a spectacular job in Iowa highlighting Niman Ranch pork with his gorgonzola & candied bacon-stuffed meatloaf entrée.
“We did this fundraiser partially because we want to continue to get all the high quality meat we can, but deep down it’s truly our way of giving back to the farmers and their families for all they do to raise their animals the right way,” says Jason. “It was very rewarding to actually watch the award be given to the student who won through our donation. Meeting his parents afterwards really brought it home.”
The fundraiser generated over $2,000 dollars for the Scholarship, which helps students from Niman Ranch family farms cover tuition costs so that they may one day return to the land. Loyal Florida locals and several folks from their Niman Ranch distributor, Turtle Beach Natural Foodservice, enjoyed an elegant yet casual six-course meal featuring pork, beef, lamb and eggs at The Birchwood. The lamb meatballs were a particular favorite of Russ Smoke, our southeast regional sales director.
Tyson and Jason plan to host another dinner in 2015, and they look forward to it being even bigger and better. Their generosity has also inspired other chefs to host similar fundraising events next year. We’re incredibly fortunate to work with talented chefs who support the future of sustainable farming in America!