As part of this endeavor, we invited Jordan Figueiredo to speak at Roots 2016: Empower. Jordan is extremely passionate about finding food waste solutions and his desire to transform the world through these solutions was absolutely electrifying.
So, it isn’t surprising that, at Roots 2016, the concept of brewing unique craft beer through the use of ugly vegetables was born. This particular innovation occurred when Farmer Lee Jones was providing a farm tour to Chef Maneet Chauha, and he shared his passion for food waste reduction through the use of ugly vegetables with her. You probably know Maneet as one of the permanent judges on Chopped, and/or from when she competed against Chef Morimoto on Iron Chef, but you may not know that this James Beard Award winning chef is also a founding partner of Mantra Artisan Ales.
After Roots 2016 concluded, Maneet headed back to Nashville, where she and Mantra founder Vivek Deora brainstormed the ale possibilities inherent in the ugly vegetable. The reality is that these vegetables are grown with the same energy, love, water and other excellent inputs as more perfectly-shaped vegetables, and they have the same amazing flavor. And, the result of Maneet’s and Vivek’s brainstorming was a marvelous new ale that uses ugly carrots as a key ingredient:
Mantra is a craft brewery that meets customer demand for a delicious variety of beers, using surprisingly original ingredients. The team believes that drinking a beer should be a “curated experience that provokes a conversation.” That’s exactly what happened in September 2017 when attendees at the Roots culinary conference, with its theme of innovation, got to sample this intriguing new beer. Not surprisingly, the beer received a resounding thumbs-up.
At The Chef’s Garden, we strive for excellence and we look for ways to explore each vegetable in every stage of its growth. This is especially important because of the huge amounts of food wasted in the United States each year, which occurs in part when less than perfect looking produce is discarded – and so Mantra’s use of nutritious and delicious ugly carrots in their new craft beer is a perfect example of innovative food waste solutions.
In our video, you can watch as brew master Derrick Morse shares how Mantra loves to create, collaborate and move with like-minded companies. The experts at Mantra take the best of what they do, and partner with other like-minded teams to create an outstanding end product and experience. As he so rightly points out, yeast doesn’t particularly care how ugly a vegetable is, and their collaboration with The Chef’s Garden allowed the company to re-imagine what ugly really means in a beautiful new way.
Ultimately, this collaboration is bigger than the beer that was created, bigger than farming, bigger than the carrot. This craft beer is the ideal vessel to demonstrate innovation and how we can, together, tackle food waste challenges in our country.