Did you know that the James Beard Foundation offers Fellowships to Chefs, helping to further develop their culinary skills? On this week’s episode we began with a James Beard Fellow, and continued our show with two more equally inspiring individuals. Each of our guests has, and continues to be stars in their own right, making an impact on Philadelphia, and as time goes on–hopefully reaching well beyond that.
During our first segment, we spoke with Chef Tonii Hicks, who is currently participating in Garces Group’s Chef in Residency program inside Volver. Chef Hicks is utilizing her Chef in Residency to raise funds to purchase a large building in West Philadelphia. Tonii’s ultimate goal is to open a multi-level work space, with each level dedicated towards an independent purpose. In creating this multi-level workspace, she envisions a place where businesses; startups; restaurateurs and artists can collaborate together on projects. Through Garces Group’s Chef in Residency Program, which highlights rising stars and offers Chefs a platform to raise monies towards whatever initiative they choose, patrons can dine on a menu curated by Chef Hicks along with offering additional tips and/or donations towards her cause.
Our impactful episode continued with Muhammad Abdul-Hadi. Abdul-Hadi’s story begins with his entrepreneurial spirit; as a youth he grew up learning the in’s and out’s of owning businesses from his older sibling. Soon after graduating high school, he turned that passion into a budding career. Years later, after an unfortunate run-in with the judicial system, Muhammad turned his remarkable skills towards restaurant ownership with a mission, and Down North Pizza was formed. Since its inception, Abdul-Hadi staffs Down North Pizza exclusively with individuals who are entering the work-force after being incarcerated, offering them fair wages, culinary skills, and most importantly–job security where other businesses fail to do the same. However, the best part is saved for last, because the pizza’s on their menu are so delicious that they have received attention from numerous publications and mainstream media outlets.
Lastly, we spoke with Christa Barfield, a highly motivated self-starter who is using her self-taught Agricultural skills to continue growing her CSA business: Farmer Jawn. Since she initially began Farmer Jawn, which offers fresh produce to food insecure families and communities located in food deserts, Barfield has continued to grow in all meanings of the word. After recently acquiring an impressive 123 acres of land, Barfield is now able to offer families on her “wait list” to sign up for her CSA program.
I’m not sure about you, but with everything that happened around the globe, this is an episode that will uplift your spirits, tempt your taste buds, and hopefully inspire you or someone you know! Stay tuned this and every Tuesday at 6pm on WWDB 860 AM & WPEN HD2 FM in the Philadelphia listening area!