If Outside Lands has shown the Bay Area anything, it’s that the combination of food, drinks and music is almost always a great match. Playing on that thinking, Chipotle is bringing those worlds together this weekend in San Francisco.
The inaugural Cultivate Festival was held in Chicago in 2011 and the event has grown every year since, with stops in Denver and now San Francisco added to the mix. Chris Arnold with Chipotle said it gives the growing company a unique opportunity to mix a number of different worlds. “First of all, this is an event for all ages. And what we really wanted is for Chipotle’s philosophy to shine through. People are becoming more educated about what they eat and where it comes from,” Arnold said. “We hope the Cultivate Festival is not only fun for everyone in attendance, but a learning experience as well.”
Musical acts for the event in Golden Gate Park include Mayer Hawthorne, Walk the Moon and The Walkmen. The event will also feature “Cultivate Experiences,” where those in attendance can learn about a range of different topics – from California avocados to a Tabasco mash tasting and learning about the differences between fresh and processed food at fast food restaurants. Those who complete at least four of the six experiences will receive a coupon for free food at any Chipotle location. Kids are not to be forgotten as there will be a Kid’s Zone set up, with interactive activities that teach kids about where food comes from and why it’s important.
Local vendors will be on hand as part of the Artisan Hall, handing out samples and selling their wares. Among the purveyors who will be on hand: 4505 Meats, El Porteno Empanadas, Handsome Coffee Roasters, Happy Girl Kitchen Co., Hodo Soy, Pop Nation, Llano Seco Organic Meats, Marin Gourmet, Nana Joes, Sunbud Bakery Buckwheat Cookies, Cafe Fanny Granola, CC Made and Chacewater. There will also be a Tasting Hall, where attendees can sample craft brews and wines, including the Cultivate Farmhouse Ale, a collaboration between Chipotle and Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. For those who haven’t gotten enough food, there will also be a Chipotle Eats section, where Chipotle chefs will be trying out the latest recipes from the restaurant, made from locally grown ingredients from this region. This will include Chipotle’s latest concept restaurant, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen. With its first location in Washington, D.C. and another coming soon to the Los Angeles area, ShopHouse is inspired by traditional shophouses, classic two-or-three story buildings where families live upstairs and run restaurants on the ground floor, found throughout Southeast Asia. The menu is gluten and dairy-free and actually uses the organic tofu from Hodo Soy Beanery in Oakland.
If all this wasn’t enough, some of the best chefs from around the country and right here in the Bay Area will be taking part in cooking demos. Local favorites include Michael Chiarello (Bottega, Coqueta), Sarah and Evan Rich (Rich Table), Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman (Wise Sons Deli) and Minh Tsai (Hodo Soy). Among those on a national scale – Richard Blais (The Spence, HD1, Flip Burger Boutique in Atlanta), Amanda Freitag (Food Network), Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Son of a Gun in Los Angeles), Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec in Los Angeles) and Bryan Petroff and Doug Quint (Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, New York). We got a chance to talk to the Riches and Bloom and Beckerman about their participation.
“I think it’s a great way to spread the word about local, small farming. Each business can bring a farm they work with for the cooking demo. This is not just about Rich Table – it really gives us a chance to learn something from the other chefs, become inspired by what they are doing and perhaps most importantly, highlight the people behind the products we are using in our restaurant. We think it will be fun to cook outside and interact with people who have been to our restaurant and maybe those who haven’t gotten to try it yet.” – Evan and Sarah Rich.
“This is really an honor for us being amongst such great chefs. Our demo is going to be on how to make matzo ball soup. I think there’s always some nervousness cooking in front of such a big crowd. But it will be fun to do what we do and explain what we call Jewish soul food at Wise Sons. We also get a chance to educate the people in attendance about what our restaurant is about and the ins-and-outs and daily process we go through – making almost everything in-house. There’s a real process to it. We’re excited, this last 13 months has been beyond our wildest dreams and an incredible journey.” – Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman.
The Cultivate Festival takes place on Saturday, June 8 in Golden Gate Park’s Hellman Hollow from 11:00am – 7:00pm and admission is free. Food and drink items will be sold on site.