In Minnesota and New York City, chefs are food and farming activists

Earlier this month, Food & Wine Magazine named chef Josh Masterson one of its new Masters of the Industry. For 18 years, he has served as chef and owner of Garden & Gun restaurant in Manhattan. His recent cookbook, “Recipes and Stories,” has drawn attention to Masterson’s personal food and farming activism.

Masterson raised all the ingredients in his restaurant, including the pig he uses in the pork burger that appears on his menu; his pork burger is the source of the Project Pig, which advocates for raising pigs humanely.

Ethan Short, grandson of famed journalist William H. Fowler, decided to open a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, serving both Prairie Trout and Indian Cooks, her family’s Native American cuisine that she grew up eating. Unlike Masterson, however, Short has spoken about his interest in sustainability.

“Sustainability is a big part of my restaurant’s DNA,” Short told Minnesota Public Radio. “That’s not to say that we’re not honoring our country’s heritage with our Native American cuisine. But I don’t feel as though that’s just a byproduct of this—that’s a core element of our restaurant.”

Walter Walker, who is black, won this year’s James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef award. As the executive chef at George and Earls in St. Paul, he has served as co-author of The Young Chef Cookbook, which champions approaches to cooking.

“If you’re going to be trying to save the planet, with cooking, you have a lot of options,” Walker told the Pioneer Press. “Different cultures have different ways of cooking, but everything has one foot in fire and one foot in earth.”

Like Masterson, Walker has also gained attention for his advocacy. In April, he testified in favor of creating a School for Native Americans, and he plans to attend the National Council on Education Policy conference in Washington, D.C., this week to speak about the issue.

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