by Lisa Lubin

Thankfully today there is a growing movement to be more aware of where our food actually comes from and how it gets to our table. Large and small organizations are popping up all over to educate consumers and eaters (a group we all belong to!) to be more aware and mindful of what they eat.

Salt Block Kitchen

Salt Block Kitchen Chicago

Salt Block Kitchen Chicago

This month Crate Free Illinois partnered with Salt Block Kitchen. Their mission is simple — to help people connect to their food sources, and inspire them to support and donate to food sustainability causes. The founder, Jayme O’Connell, holds monthly “Cooking for Causes” workshops in her residential kitchen for about six to eight guests.

Salt Block Kitchen Chicago

Cooking for Causes workshop with Salt Block Kitchen

Each month she selects a different cause that supports the food ecosystem, curates a menu, and brings people to learn about cooking and the food ecosystem. Her workshops are non-profit (each guest contributes $50 for the ingredients, menu planning, shopping, and preparation) and the guests are asked to donate at least $50 to the cause of the month.

Chicken or the Egg

deviled Egg TrioHer workshop this month was titled, “Which Came First…the Chicken or the Egg.” As the name suggests, all the dishes featured chicken and eggs. She made a trio of deviled eggs, bucatini carbonara, a cheese soufflé, Indian chicken tikka on rice, and for desert, a take on s’mores with lemon curd and marshmallow between two Italian pizelle cookies.

Bucatini Carbonara

Bucatini Carbonara

Cheese Souffle

Cheese souffle

Chicken tikka

Chicken tikka on rice

Lemon curd and marshmallow s'mores

Lemon curd and marshmallow s’mores

The Food Source

Jayme sourced the chicken directly from Gunthrop Farms, a family-owned farm based in Indiana which supplies many restaurants in Chicago. Gunthrop Farms is one of many farmers you can find on our Crate Free Illinois app (available on iTunes or in the Google Play Store) which provides a map of Illinois and all the farmers and markets at which you can buy humanely raised meat (restaurants coming soon!). All of the animals at Gunthrop Farms are raised humanely on pasture without antibiotics and are slaughtered on the premises so the animals live their lives in one place and never have to deal with the stress and fear of being transported.

Jayme O'Connell of Salt Block Kitchen

Jayme O’Connell of Salt Block Kitchen

We were thrilled to be the food cause for this month’s workshop and thank Salt Block Kitchen and their guests for their generous donations to our cause.

About the author: Lisa Lubin is a writer, photographer, video consultant and world traveler. She formerly was a TV producer at ABC7 Chicago. She is a volunteer and on the board of directors for Crate Free Illinois. She fosters cats and lives on the north side of Chicago with her awesome rescue kitty, Bug.

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