Each week until ACF National Convention: Orlando, we’ll profile one of the inspiring speakers and presenters who will be there. Visit acfchefs.org/convention to see the full schedule, and call us at (800) 624-9458 to speak with an events team member about registering now. Onsite registration will also be available.
At ACF National Convention: Orlando on August 7, Farmer Lee Jones will be a part of a panel titled “Earth to Table: Defining the Next Frontier of Local Cuisine,” as well as speaking on “Taking ‘Plant Forward’ a Step Further” in conjunction with Chef Jamie Simpson later that day. They will explore how chefs and farmers can work together as ambassadors of the plant forward trend that advocates more vegetables on the plate. In addition, they will cover how chefs can further this message by running a “no-waste” kitchen using every part of the vegetable as an integral aspect of the Plant Forward mindset.
Farmer Lee Jones
Farmer Lee Jones always wears his trademark overalls and red bowtie as a symbol of his commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. Ever since the early days of The Chef’s Garden’s creation over 30 years ago, he has remained tirelessly committed to two things. One, ensuring that the family’s three hundred acre farm remains one of the most innovative and pioneering in the world. And two, to fostering a nuanced conversation with the chefs in our industry who look to the farm to grow vegetables that are as aesthetically pleasing on the plate as they are flavorful to the palate.
Farmer Lee Jones also works alongside his dad and brother on the farm, inspiring The Chef’s Garden team to perpetually discover innovative ways to become more sustainable while at the same time, producing the highest quality ingredients possible. He was honored to receive the James Beard Foundation’s award for Who’s Who in Food & Beverage, making him one of the first farmers to receive it. He serves on the boards for Chef Magazine, Chef Concept and Modern Farmer.
He appeared in an episode of the Food Network’s “Food Network Star” as well as “Restaurant: Impossible” along with First Lady Michelle Obama. He is proud to have been named one of The Daily Meal’s “60 Coolest People in Food” in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and recently enjoyed spending time on the farm with television personality Andrew Zimmern for his “Bizarre Foods” program.
The one thing he can’t do is reveal what his favorite vegetable is because that would be like having to name your favorite child.
Chef Jamie Simpson is the Executive Chef Liaison at The Culinary Vegetable Institute. Hailing from a small town in South Carolina, Simpson began his culinary career in a serendipitous fashion after leaving the music industry. His journey took him to one of Charleston’s most acclaimed restaurants, The Charleston Grill, which gave him opportunities to explore other globally recognized kitchens and work with countless talents.
Simpson is passionate about exploring different cultures, the connection between art and food, and the relationship between unconscious process and creativity. Producing beautifully dressed and garnished dishes that marry complex flavors with technical expertise, he uses luxurious ingredients as well as odd cuts and guts. His creative approach of taking raw product and turning it into something unique and inspiring piques the interests of others. Simpson’s reputation for the use of unusual ingredient combinations, tastes and textures has led him to direct one of the most prestigious kitchens in the country.
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