While food sustainability efforts have expanded significantly over the last few years—with more companies engaging in eco-conscious trends and techniques—there’s still a stigma surrounding seafood and the processes put in place to harvest it.
And as the focus has sharpened on addressing policy reform and the economics of creating an ethical, conscious world, sustainable leaders like Chef Danielle Leoni—executive chef and co-owner of downtown Phoenix’s, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar—have been working to inform people about the changes they can make in their own lives to support the preservation of the greater world.
Evidently—at least according to Leoni—it can be as simple as assessing what we eat and understanding where exactly our food comes from.
“My restaurant has this reputation for making great food, while also educating people about the fact that it comes from local farmers or ranchers that have raised it, grown it, or caught it responsibly,” says Leoni. “In many ways, this feels like a long-standing endeavor or quest that I’ve been on, and I consider it my life’s purpose to find folks out there that are doing food right and support them however I can.”
Leoni is nationally recognized as a culinary leader in implementing sustainable change within our food system.
And while Leoni’s championing of sustainable culinary approaches has been a consistent theme of her career, it’s her recent partnership with Arizona Desert Shrimp that has garnered the attention of chefs and food experts on a national level.
“Her [Leoni’s] values are in alignment with where we’re going as a company, and it felt very natural for us to want to work more closely with her” says Phillip Peck, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Arizona Desert Shrimp.
Arizona Desert Shrimp is regarded as “the best tasting shrimp on the planet”, and the company exhibits an exceptionally meticulous approach with their production methods and intentions to take care of the planet one eco-friendly decision at a time.
When people choose Arizona Desert Shrimp, they’re choosing healthy, sustainable seafood they can actually feel good about.
“Sustainability, in large part, is protecting the environment by creating a methodology whereby just as it implies, it’s something that you can continue to move forward with without creating a footprint of destruction,” says Peck. “That’s a huge part of Arizona Desert Shrimp’s identity, and now, of our collaboration with Danielle.”
The partnership aims to help educate chefs about sustainable seafood and break the negative stigma around farm shrimp—and tapping into the power of two of the sustainable food industry’s most prominent innovators is certainly working to guarantee the partnership’s success.
Leoni has long traveled the nation talking about sustainability on behalf of the James Beard Foundation, as well as through the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. Through her involvement in chef-driven, seafood sustainability programs that are geared at educating people more about seafood and where exactly their food comes from, Leoni has been able to incorporate her knowledge into the partnership with Arizona Desert Shrimp.
Arizona Desert Shrimp not only promises the highest level of quality in their shrimp, they back it through transparency in production techniques. Through efficient farming, sustainable production, improved logistics in transportation routes and optimization of food waste, and sustainable access to markets that maintain record-keeping requirements for the imports of seafood, Arizona Desert Shrimp has evolved into an industry leader on an international scale.
That reputation was what initially attracted Leoni to form the partnership with the company.
“I’ve always loved the idea of shrimp in the desert, but I’ve never loved it more because now I know, as a chef, the intricacies of it now that I’m a part of their team,” says Leoni. “I’ve vetted their practices for sustainability, and they are undoubtedly the most transparent company I’ve ever worked with.”
Arizona Desert Shrimp’s first harvest took place last fall. And beginning in December in Phoenix, Arizona Desert Shrimp began selling locally at farmers markets.
Looking ahead, the team has plans to continue evolving their partnership through initiatives that will work to alter the nature of the food industry as a whole—even in the midst of uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic.
“To truly be a culinary leader of the highest caliber, you have to understand what you’re buying, your procurement practices, how your sourcing is impacting your community, and how your decisions can affect change,” says Leoni. “That’s what this partnership is all about, and we’re confident we can educate others for the better through it.”
For more information on the partnership between Chef Danielle Leoni and Arizona Desert Shrimp, visit www.arizonadesertshrimp.com.