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Corporate Chef Brody Boren challenges the whimsical idealization of the farm-to-table and in-the-kitchen experience, stressing that food is not a trend, rather a canvas for a cause.

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Brody Boren grew up in the shadow of the Gilbert, Arizona water tower. Idaho-born, he’s lived his entire life in this city. "I don’t think I’ll ever leave. I love Phoenix,” he confessed. Boren’s East Valley roots run deep and from this very soil he founded a steadfast career in food. Surely, with a schedule and workspace filled to capacity, Boren is committed to food, but his off-duty hunger for community relationships uncovered an unspoken conversation about food culture.

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When the film Chef hit theaters in 2014, critics raved about the drama-adventure; an exclusive review described it as a “comfort comedy, pure and simple.” [1] The hospitable, creative kitchen mis en scène impassioned Boren to join in a conversation about the dynamics of his career and community,

People told me, ‘That’s so trendy right now.’ People have jumped on the bandwagon of the extension of farm-to-table. I’m not in food because it’s whimsical or artsy. [The kitchen] is a difficult, sweaty, tension-filled environment. Grapes have to suffer to make good wine.

While Chef received the nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy Movie[2], local chef activists like Jeff Kraus and RoxSand Scocos McCreary, who advocated, “It’s not just serving food because it makes money, but also to feed to soul,” won over Boren[3]. Unreservedly, he disclosed, “Food became real; an expression of passion, joy and an edge of social justice.” Inspired by McCreary and Kraus, Brody Boren established an off-duty pop-up experience called Ennoble Arizona, offering breakfast made from organic ingredients, sourced from within the borders of the state of Arizona. He recently hosted a series of brunch events in partnership with East Valley staple, Peixoto.

Taste is as inherent as heritage at Peixoto, a kinship-minded coffee shop in downtown Chandler, whose pivotal crop-to-cup proposition brings together roaster and barista to present a truly tangible farm-to-table experience. Shades of sunrise happened upon neighborly faces at the tabletops of Peixoto on the Sundays that Boren kindled sweet and spicy aromas. From 8am to noon, he plated curried butternut squash, pomegranate, poppy seed and blueberry-flavored pancakes. Despite the rotation of flavors, hand-cultivated heritage grains by Hayden Flour Mills and buttermilk sourced from Yuma are consistent ingredients. Phoenicians came together to enjoy locally sourced, honestly made food with fellow desert dwellers. The soul of the atmosphere at Peixoto is a reflection of the Valley and the human experience.

Many ask, Why pancakes? What’s the purpose of these pop-ups? Boren answers purely and simply, “Pancakes are an extension of what I enjoy doing. It’s about having a canvas. When you find something that is a vehicle, it doesn’t have to be about that anymore.”

FROM THE EDITOR
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[1] Susan Wloszczyna, “Chef,” (May 9, 2014).
[2] Lauren Moraski, “2015 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards nominations announced,” (December 15, 2014).
[3] RoxSand Scocos, “Menu for a Small Planet,” (June 6, 1996).

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