Blue Watermelon Project connects chefs & farmers with students

Many school aged children don’t have the access to quality foods and rely on lunch served at school for free. Unfortunately after expenses there is only $1 left for the meal for each student which usually buys processed foods. Enter the Blue Watermelon Project, a program from Slow Food Phoenix inspired by chef and restaurant owner at FnB, Charleen Badman.

Blue Watermelon Project connects chefs, restaurants, farmers and food advocates with individual schools in an effort to help students re-think their relationship with fresh and whole foods making them a more adventurous eater. Along with parents and the community they offer taste education and interactive programming to help K-12 aged students become better eaters.

Blue Watermelon’s annual fundraiser, Feeding the Future helps bring awareness about school meal programs and Blue Watermelon’s mission. The 2022 event is Saturday January 22nd at The Farm at South Mountain from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Feeding the Future connects students and their Chef Mentors from Phoenix and Tucson to help create healthy school meals with several meal being judged to win prizes and scholarships. The meals meet the National School Lunch Programs nutrition, cost and other requirements.

Tickets for the event are $25-$75 and can be purchased at Eventbrite.

Rancho Pinot celebrates 25 years with throwback dinner series

Most of us don’t know what we’re doing 6 days from now let alone 6 months from now but in this case advanced planning is needed. Scottsdale’s Rancho Pinot celebrates its 25th anniversary later this year and is celebrating with 4 Throwback dinners as owner Chrysa Robertson invites her mentors and those she’s mentored to help re-create meals from the past.Rancho Pinot

The dinners will take place over 4 weeks in November.

Rancho Pinot has been serving customers farm to table meals using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients long before it was cool and Robertson helped start the first Phoenix chapter of Slow Food International.

What does she attribute to surviving 25 years with the ups and downs of owning a restaurant?

“My tightknit family taught me to appreciate and love food early on,” said Robertson. “I’ve always believed that in addition to food, it’s about hospitality. I could never do what I do without the support and talent of all the people – my family – who work with me. When guests come to Rancho Pinot, they’re coming to my home. I want my guests to feel good, taken care of and to have a civilized dining experience.”

Rancho Pinot Throwback dinners

Chrysa honed her kitchen skills in California before returning to Arizona to open Rancho Pinot in 1993. The dinners pay homage to those who inspired her and whom she’s inspired including FnB chef/owner Charleen Badman and Sacha Levine who’s opening her own restaurant.

The wine will be flowing as Rancho Pinot strolls down memory lane with theses weekly dinners.

Thursday, November 1, 2018 Girls Night

A dinner featuring several of Chef Robertson’s counterparts at Rancho over the years, including Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale, Sacha Levine formerly of Ocotillo Restaurant, Michelle Mango of Mango Cakes, Shannon Plowman of La Vie in Pinetop and Wendy Lair, a personal chef in Northern California.

Thursday, November 8, 2018 Wine Night

A nod to Master Sommeliers, Wine Night features two Rancho Pinot alums, MS Bobby Stuckey and MS Christopher Tanghe, as they work the floor, pouring special bottles paired with an equally extravagant menu.

Thursday, November 15, 2018 Southern California Days

Mentor and inspiration, Nancy Silverton – currently Mozza and Chi Spaca in LA – formerly of Campanile and La Brea Bakery, joins friend Suzanne Tracht of Jar Restaurant in LA, to remember Chef Robertson’s time working in Los Angeles in 1990 with a fun and collaborative menu.

Thursday, November 29, 2018 Northern California Days
Celebrating Chef Robertson’s Napa Valley experience with Terra Restaurant’s Chef Hiro Sone and former sous chef, Jim Neal, this evening brings the famed flavors of Napa Valley to the Sonoran Desert for a can’t-miss culinary dinner event.

Starting in October you can RSVP by calling Rancho Pinot at 480-367-8030 or email to ranchopinot@hotmail.com

Rancho Pinot is at 6208 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85250. For more information see their website.