So the big night has come and gone. The ‘buzz’ is wearing off. And the “buzz” is just beginning. Mr. Moriarty, Chris Lee and the Phoenix Ignite crew have outdone themselves and in the process, really raised the bar for future events…both Ignite Phoenix and future iterations of Ignite Food if those be in the works!
So what happened on the evening of Monday, March 19 in downtown Phoenix, Arizona? The first Ignite Food event…EVER…ANYWHERE! And it was truly special.
After a few housekeeping reminders from Mr. Moriarty, the night began in earnest with Chris Lee sharing his insights on how he sees food affecting friends, family, and relationships. Chris is a previous Ignite Phoenix presenter who’s personal passions brought him together with Phoenix Ignite to help make Ignite Food what it was!
The Chef Sponsers were INCREDIBLE…long lines all night long!! Bacon Pineapple Gingersnaps were served along side hot dogs and pork belly with white beans and some AMAZING caramel bites. A big thanks to Tracy Dempsey, Petite Maison, Pittsburgh Willies, 24 Carrots & Loaded Cupcake!
As for the presenters, here’s a brief rundown. We’ll hyperlink the YouTube presentations once they are up. For your convenience, feel free to bookmark this page, or even subscribe to our blog! We’ve linked the names for your convenience (and to protect the innocent from the guilty) to their Twitter accounts. (Check them out, there are plenty of other more boring people you could follow! )
The evening began in earnest with DIY bacon courtesy of Zach Garcia, and techniques were shared including the key to all great bacon…”smoke ‘em if you got ‘em”. Who wouldn’t want to make their own bacon at home after learning how easy it really is…including the “don’t eat the pink salt” tip….thank you sir!
A few technical difficulties had no affect on the unflappable Chris Petroff as the idea of small raised bed gardening was elevated from “I can do that” to “I will do that!” The guy who’s job has him promoting economic development was discussing the merits of herb gardens in Phoenix (and they don’t require a medical card…go figure!)
The personal frustration of food allergies, which included potatoes (you have our deepest condolences) should have moved more of us to be appreciative of the foods we can enjoy. I had french fries at the half just for you Cinder McDonald!
We explored the notion of rum as the true American spirit and were then graciously served samples of some delicious rums that nicely illustrate why rum isn’t just for cola anymore! Thank you Dewayne Allan!
Then in a completely unexpected twist the audience was asked to donate their poop to science… and provided a phone number to call. Bradley Lusk shared great news of recent research that promises wonderful insights into all types of common maladies.
Even the few moments Chef Badman took mid presentation to compose herself before continuing on spoke loud and clear to all in the audience the raw emotion of things that are near and dear to her heart. But revealing her secret desire to be the cafeteria lunch lady will make dining at FnB an entirely new experience from this point forward!
“Salt is sexy” seemed to be the take away for more than a few Ignite Food-ies, but that was not the message we had in mind when we put together our presentation. However, if we get even a few people to change their minds (and eating habits) when it comes to salt…well it was definitely worth the candid discussion about processed salt and the other options available. Make your food taste better and you’ll eat better…or as we reminded everyone last night…happiness IS just a lick away!
The anchor slot for the first half went to Mr. Cisco Saavedra…Offal is not so awful was the message, though I still don’t think I’m going to develop a new found fondness for liver, especially not polar bear liver! The virtues of cow tongue empenadas, however, were right on point. As something I’ve sampled before they really are a treat everyone should try (at least once) in their lifetime.
With some great food samples and a few libations under the belt and a hilarious version of “Food Jeopardy” cooked up by the Ignite staff, everyone was ready to begin Round #2.
At first blush, (even though I LOVE burritos) the “awesomeness of burritos” didn’t strike me as a particularly compelling discussion, but Brian Sun threw all that out the window in the first 30 seconds. By the time we got to the “Erto Phenomenon” I was beyond hooked. I even had to go out and get my favorite “hole in the wall”, “real deal” burrito fix today!
Jason Miller showed up dressed as I had been dared to…IN A KILT! Regimented or social, we didn’t ask and didn’t want to know. But he also rolled out on stage with his Glencairn glass in hand filled with what we can only imagine was a scotch worthy of the presentation and the evening. As a multi-decade scotch drinker, “ya did the fah mah le proud”!
Beet juice remedies and the words of Hippocrates carried the truths of Monika Woolsey‘s message…”Let food be thy medicine.” As she extolled the virtues of nopales, I found myself wondering, “maybe she’s onto something and maybe there’s even more to be learned from the entire ‘eat local’ movement!”
A few well placed pictures convinced me that MRE’s will NEVER be tasty. (not to mention the fact that they have way too much bad sodium) But Bill Marr presented a compelling case for making sure you can cook an awesome meal or two for yourself in the event that zombies try to take over the world.
Paul Schwennesen is about as local as local gets! He’s a family rancher who’s cowboy hat, boots & buckle struck a resonant cord with most in the audience as he encouraged everyone to “get back to the land.” He provided clear evidence that he is someone who truly “lives off the land”. His statistic about 758 family farms disappearing every month made us even more determined to make a success of Dutchman’s Truffiere!
If you are a beer lover and truly appreciate the melody of flavors that hops brings to the table, then Derek Slife did not disappoint. He even encouraged everyone to take the wet aged hops challenge. Personally, I’m just going to look for some hops ice cream…Sweet Republic, when did you say you’d have that ready?
Chef Justin Beckett told us how to
plan plot a successful eatathon… in full detail, right down to recommending “tear away pants.” NO skinny jeans, and limit your group to 2-3 close friends. Be prepared to lick all ten fingers at some point during the trip and don’t be afraid to push the plate away, no matter how great the food is! (I just can’t seem to get the SNL Chris Farley tear away pants skit out of my head…thanks dude…)
And finally, if you are more concerned about lunch tomorrow and you find yourself anywhere on McDowell in Phoenix, well now you have a personal meal assistant for that too! Rounding out the group of 16 we heard from Dominic Armato as he encouraged as many as possible to support and share our small local eatery treasures.
It was quite the night for all involved… really! The Ignite Phoenix group has a great deal to be proud of. The first of it’s kind and they NAILED IT! We will do our best to be at each and every Ignite Food event going forward, and hopefully, you may perhaps see us present again! More importantly, we hope to see each of you that made this event possible there again, and again and again!
It was an honor to present with a group of people who are not only passionate about what they like and do, but were fully capable of sharing and conveying that passion. We appreciated the privilege of being a part of it, and encourage you to consider your passions…AND SHARE THEM!