When my husband, who works for Chipotle, told me that the Chipotle Cultivate Festival was coming to the Phoenix area, I immediately called a couple of my closest gal pals and told them to mark their calendars. To make matters more exciting, a few weeks later I was invited to attend the local media preview event so that I could learn more about and help spread the word about the food, chefs, and artisans who would anchor the festival. What an opportunity!
So what exactly is the Chipotle Cultivate Festival? It's all about food, ideas, and music. Chipotle describes it as "a celebration of food that is responsibly raised, skillfully prepared, and delightfully enjoyed." They ask that we join them on their "journey toward a world of more sustainable, wholesome, and delicious food." And to sweeten the deal? It's completely FREE to attend. The whole idea is to get people thinking and talking about food and food issues and how to create a more sustainable future.
Check out the recap of last year's festival:
Since I focus on family wellness as it relates to animals, the fact that Chipotle serves sustainably raised meats, vegetarian and vegan options, and sources their produce locally whenever possible is very important to me. The knowledge to be gained at the Cultivate Festival is invaluable. Plus, it looks like one hell of a party.
At the media preview event, I had the opportunity to listen to Scott Robinson, Chipotle's National Events Manager, talk about the Cultivate Festival. This is the festival's fifth year and Phoenix is the seventh city to house the festival. Just like they didn't know how the first Chipotle in Denver, CO, would do, they had no idea how successful the festival would be. We're super lucky that Phoenix is in the lineup this year.
What can we expect to do at the phoenix cultivate?
ROCK OUT. Check out the killer music lineup at the music stage, composed of local and national acts: Jared & The Mill, Magic Man, MS MR, Bleachers, Twenty One Pilots, and DJ Christoper Golub, the DJ of Chipotle.
LEARN. We'll be able to explore five exhibits throughout the festival, which will focus on sustainable food practices, including an exhibit explaining how to make Chipotle's guacamole, the reality of processed foods, and an experience showing the conditions of factory-raised pigs compared to those that are responsibly raised. Each exhibit will give you a stamp for attending, and if you check out at least four exhibits, you'll earn a card for a free burrito, bowl, tacos, or salad + IZZE™ at any Chipotle. Sweet!
PLAY. Cultivate is a family-friendly event. Take the kiddos to the Kids' Zone that has snacks and fun activities.
CHEF DEMOS. Live and in person? Yes, please. Chipotle says "superior ingredients deserve excellent preparation. Watch as these expert chefs and stars of the culinary world prepare a variety of dishes in our on-site kitchens. They'll demonstrate different cooking techniques as well as share their knowledge and love of working with local farms and suppliers." These superstar chefs include Joshua Herbert, Owner/Executive Chef of Posh, Chris Schlattman, Executive Chef of The Upton, Charleen Badman, Owner/Chef at FNB, Richard Blais, Restaurateur/Chef/Author and winner of Top Chef: All Stars, and Amanda Freitag, Owner/Chef at Empire Diner.
I was excited to have the opportunity to meet local Executive Chef Chris Schlattman of The Upton in Scottsdale, where the preview event was held. We tasted his cuisine, which was divine and beautiful, yet casual and completely approachable. He said that Chipotle and The Upton are alike because they are "fuss free" and use "great, simple ingredients." I would have to agree.
GRUB. Whether you want to sample food and beverage or indulge in a full meal (or both), there is something for everyone. Since I plan on being there for the duration of the festival, my goal is to do it all. The Artisans' Hall will be a highlight. We'll get to try delicious samplings from an amazing collection of artisanal Arizona food. The Food Tents will be manned by Chipotle's chefs and top team members. The chefs have developed new recipes just for Cultivate. Along with the Chipotle-inspired dishes, select items from ShopHouse, Chipotle's new Southeast Asian concept, will be served. To wash it down, you'll find the Tasting Hall, where you can sample some of the best craft brews in the region or taste some top-quality sustainable wines, or go for a full glass, which are all reasonably priced.
At the preview event, I had the privilege of meeting some of the local artisans who will be set up at the Artisans' Hall and the Tasting Hall during Cultivate, and I had the chance to try their food and beverages. I didn't meet a person or sample I didn't like. Here are the highlights:
CARTEL COFFEE LAB Never in my life have I known such intricacies. I tried the recommended "cold brew, " which Jules described accurately as "fruit-forward." Amazing. Like no cup of Joe I've ever had. All of their coffee is carefully sourced, and they also have local beers on tap.
SONORAN BREWING COMPANY They partnered with Chipotle to create a traditional Saison called "Cultivate Farmhouse Ale," brewed with local Arizona Honey, Lemons, and Limes. And, yes, it was just as yummy as it sounds.
SUPER CHUNK Small-batch handcrafted sweets & treats with a modernized, unique twist. They use botanical sugars and essential oils. They sent me home with some crazy fun cookies and taffy pulled right there in house (shame I had to share with the littles) and this insane bag of white cheddar truffle popcorn (which–thank goodness–was a bit strong for the children, and my hubby never knew it was in the house). If I ever encounter it again, all bets are off. Plus, owners Sergio and Country were super fun to talk to. Sergio told me they are known for their black licorice. When I made a face, he said, it's well-known as "black licorice for people who don't like black licorice." I trust him enough to try it.
SWEET REPUBLIC The perfect definition of simplicity, I had the opportunity to taste their salted butter caramel ice cream, which was so perfectly balanced. Their ice cream is handcrafted in small batches, and their shop menu features artisan ice cream, insane-sounding sundaes and simple, yet unique milkshakes.
TRACY DEMPSEY ORIGINALS Tracy was as much of a delight as her deserts. As I was devouring her creation, my brain checked out, so I asked her more than a handful of times what all I was consuming. She was totally cool about it. Her beautiful and delicious creation was lemon creme with coconut tapioca, roasted pineapple compote, berries, and basil syrup.
If you haven't gathered, I'm super pumped to enjoy even more at the Chipotle Cultivate Festival. I can't wait to share the time and experience with friends, visit my hubby as he heads-up the ever-popular taco tent, and basically gorge my mind and body on everything. All this, and we can be sure that the consumables are sourced responsibly, which is the one takeaway I want you to know. It is possible to have a carefree blast and be responsible at the same time.
I can't wait.
Is the Cultivate Festival coming to your 'hood?
PHOENIX APRIL 18 AT WESTWORLD SCOTTSDALE
KANSAS CITY JULY 18 AT PENN VALLEY PARK
MINNEAPOLIS AUGUST 22 AT LORING PARK
So please join me and my pals on April 18 from 11 a.m.-7:00 p.m. at Westworld of Scottsdale. I can't wait to see you there! Which part of the festival are you most pumped for?
Are you pumped for this giveaway? Please enter for your chance to win 10 Chipotle Burrito Bucks, each one of which will get you a burrito, burrito bowl, salad, or order of tacos.