Since 2014, FamilyFarmed has presented a Good Food Chef of the Year Award at its annual Good Food EXPO. The recipient of the award is chosen by the EXPO planning team, whose choices are based on the recipient’s service to the Good Food community, commitment to sourcing from local farmers, and other strengths that reflects the core values of FamilyFarmed and the Good Food movement. The biggest challenge is choosing among the many chefs in Chicago who meet this criteria.
Jason Hammel of Lula Cafe is FamilyFarmed’s 2019 Good Food Chef of the Year. Like previous winners such as Rick Bayless of the Frontera Restaurant Group (the first recipient in 2014) and Paul Kahan of the One Off Hospitality Group (2016), Jason has been one of the pioneers of Chicago’s farm to table movement, first at Lula Cafe in Logan Square, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and also at his more recent addition, Marisol at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Jason also is a co-founder — along with Paul Kahan and others — of Pilot Light, a chef-driven nonprofit that works with Chicago Public Schools to integrate education about food’s role in history, social studies, math, science and other parts of the students’ curriculum.
The lineup of award winners:
2014: Rick Bayless, Frontera Restaurant Group
2015: Paul Fehribach, Big Jones
2016: Paul Kahan, One Off Hospitality
2017: Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp, Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Sunday Dinner Club
2018: Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde
2019: Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe and Marisol at the Museum of Contemporary Art