SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FactoryMade, Hollywood’s boutique incubator in television, lifestyle and consumer products, today announced a game-changing collaboration with Walmart, the country’s largest grocer, and Haworth Marketing + Media, to promote the importance of fresh, affordable, and locally grown produce and support the farm to table movement in a meaningful way.
Rediscovering America is an innovative culinary pilot program which aligns Walmart with five renowned local chefs, all recognized by the James Beard Foundation as Best Chef Award Semifinalists, and five local farms in the following cities: Charlotte, NC; Richmond, VA; Tampa, FL; Houston, TX; and Atlanta, GA.
Each of these culinary masterminds will also be filmed for an upcoming documentary series developed and produced by FactoryMade, co-founders of El Rey Network and executive producers of Lucha Underground, a groundbreaking series with a vastly different, cinematic approach to the wrestling genre.
Adding another direct to consumer layer to the initiative, FactoryMade has also partnered with New York Times best-selling cookbook author and restaurateur, Ayesha Curry (a Charlotte native), who has long supported local, organic farming even in all of her own restaurants. She will be working closely with FactoryMade to bring attention to the project and celebrate the good work that is happening in the farm to table movement.
“Our main impetus in bringing together Walmart and these creative, community-minded chefs was to shine a spotlight on their dual commitment to do good and do well,” said Cristina Magno Patwa and John Fogelman, co-CEOs of FactoryMade. “In addition to celebrating their mission to use locally grown produce and their support of local farms, we wanted to highlight their commitment to their respective communities. As change-agent chefs, they bring an incredible diversity to the culinary space in terms of their backgrounds, points of view, and cooking techniques, as well as their take on how their work impacts those in their own backyards in the Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, South, Southeast and Southwest.”
Rediscovering America highlights an array of restaurants from casual to more formal, includes the following chefs and their respective Walmart produce of choice:
- Chef Gene Kato of Upstream, Charlotte, NC. Chef Kato is featuring jalapeño peppers from Bailey Farms of Oxford, NC, across his menu of high quality sushi fare, including his Hamachi with pickled jalapeño and yuzu vinaigrette. Specializing in authentic Japanese cuisine, Chef Kato was a 2017 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes and Upstream was named by Esquire Magazine’s John Mariani as one of the best new restaurants in the U.S.
- Chef Brittanny Anderson of Metzger Bar & Butchery, Richmond, VA. Chef Anderson is incorporating organic thyme from Shenandoah Growers of Harrisonburg, VA, in a specially created strawberry tart with thyme shortbread, pink peppercorn and elderflower. Specializing in rustic and seasonal German-influenced cuisine, Chef Anderson was a 2017 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic and was a 2018 Iron Chef America contestant.
- Chef Ferrell Alvarez of Rooster & the Till, Tampa, FL. Chef Alvarez is using white, baby bella/cremini and portabella mushroom caps from Monterey Mushrooms of Zellwood, FL, in a specially created tartine of smoked mushrooms, duxelle, bleu cheese, balsamic gel and dressed leaves. Specializing in innovative, modern American edgy fare, Chef Alvarez was a 2017 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: South and was the 2014 Best New Chef & Best New Restaurant from Creative Loafing.
- Chef Anita Jaisinghani of Pondicheri Bake Lab + Shop, Houston, TX. Chef Jaisinghani is featuring mini San Marzano tomatoes from Village Farms of Marfa, TX, in a specially created Khichri & Soup. Specializing in innovative and nourishing renditions of Indian street food, Chef Jaisinghani was a 2012, 2017 and 2018 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Southwest. Pondicheri was also on Eater’s The 38 Essential Restaurants of Texas in 2018.
- Chef Rui Liu of Masterpiece, Atlanta, GA. Chef Liu will be incorporating Vidalia sweet onions from Bland Farms of Glennville, GA across all menu items where onions are featured. Specializing in spicy and fermented Szechuan cuisine, Chef Liu was a 2017 and 2018 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast, and Masterpiece was 3rd in Atlanta Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants in Atlanta in 2018.
“The James Beard Awards recognize talent wherever it lies across the entire spectrum of America’s dynamic food scene, from big cities to small towns, from beloved neighborhood joints to temples of gastronomy,” said Mitchell Davis, Chief Strategy Officer of the James Beard Foundation, who will emcee a launch event in Charlotte, NC. “Chefs, restaurants, farmers and informed eaters help make America more vibrant and delicious for everyone, supporting our organization’s mantra that we all benefit from 'good food for good.' ”
The five chefs are incorporating produce from local farms whose produce is available at Walmart stores into their menus now through the end of summer. The program is designed to encourage consumers to taste and experience locally grown produce in expertly crafted dishes by award-winning chefs at their favorite neighborhood restaurants. The same locally grown produce is also available at their local Walmart stores, highlighting the availability and affordability of fresh foods from their nearby local farms.
The program also has a social media component, where the five chefs and local influencers are posting images and text on Instagram and Facebook about their creative dishes, the locally-grown produce and the availability of the produce at Walmart.
FactoryMade developed this experiential marketing initiative around neighborhood top chefs at a time when the market is saturated with celebrity endorsers and national spokespersons in the food industry. By focusing on a ground swelling of local, authentic voices, the company believes that a grassroots approach leading up to a national presence taps into consumers’ trust of familiar, relatable, hometown heroes at their already frequented family restaurants.
“Consumers have a real connection with these chefs and restaurants, who are authentic influencers in their communities,” said Ashley Gibbs, senior marketing director, Walmart U.S. “We are thrilled they are sharing the message that fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms can be bought right in their local Walmart.”
The chefs were curated by FactoryMade based on a methodology that included diversity of background, restaurant popularity, kid friendliness scores, award recognition, type of restaurant, how well they cater to families, and accessibility to local Walmart stores.
FactoryMade is a boutique Hollywood incubator that creates scalable companies with leading, authentic voices by partnering with creative talent who share their vision, passion and ethos. Founded in 2011, FactoryMade has created, managed and served on the board of a portfolio of minority-led businesses, food and lifestyle companies, hospitality businesses and kids and family entertainment properties. Ventures include El Rey Network, the television network co-founded with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez; Lucha Underground, the groundbreaking Mexican wrestling league; Kick Punch Studios, a leading production and theatrical trailer house; The Private Suite, a reservation-only luxury terminal at LAX; Miraval Olive Oil, a suite of foods from the French estate; and a meal kit delivery business with Vice Munchies and Chef’d. Visit FactoryMade.com for more information.