Conscious Eatery, aka “Seattle’s philanthropic sandwich shop,” is a restaurant and catering company in Seattle that donates a meal to someone in need for every meal sold. 

To date, the chef owners Cierra and Chaz have donated over 25,000 meals, built a network of collaborative nonprofits, and learned some powerful lessons about hunger and housing in modern America. In our chat, they share their personal experiences with homelessness, discuss some of the most overlooked and misunderstood aspects of hunger and homelessness in America, and explain why solving homelessness has to start with acknowledging and listening to the diverse stories of the people that are affected by it. 

We also explore why solving food waste in restaurants starts with re-thinking portion sizes and why dill is a truly underrated herb. Cierra and Chaz model what generosity, empathy, and hard work look like and this episode is an inspiring glimpse into how businesses and restaurants can be a force for good in the world. If you’re looking for a beacon of hope in your podcast landscape, this episode is a great place to start. 

Show Notes: 

  1. Cierra and Chaz regularly support the White Center Food Bank as well as the Roots Young Adult Center. If you’d like to learn more about either or lend your support, their websites are: https://www.whitecenterfoodbank.org/ and https://www.rootsinfo.org/
  2. Cierra and Chaz are big fans of pear salad. They make theirs with spring mix, blue cheese, candied walnuts, and a champagne vinaigrette! 
  3. Imperfect recently organized a Food Waste Restaurant Week. Here is some of what we learned from our chefs
  4. Cierra and Chaz look up to Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglass, who has been composting for 30 years! 
  5. To use up old bread, Chaz recommends making a Panzanella salad
  6. Chaz is also in the process of perfecting bread pudding
  7. An excellent program that combines food recovery with job training for vulnerable populations is Food Shift in Alameda California
  8. Chaz and Cierra mentioned the work that Fare Start is doing to provide culinary job training.
  9. To gain a deeper understanding of the American affordable housing crisis, Reilly recommends Adam Conover’s podcast, “Factually,” which has an eye-opening episode about the intersection of the housing crisis and homelessness. 
  10. To work with Conscious Eatery, shoot them an email at info@consciouseatery.org
  11. To find a food bank near you, and learn more about hunger in America, check out feedingamerica.org
  12. Dill is an underrated herb according to Cierra. One of her favorite ways to use it is in a quick and easy tuna salad combining tuna, yellow mustard, and dill. She recommends serving it on top of quinoa or with arugula in a sandwich
  13. Cierra and Chaz’s go-to karaoke song would be “Ironic” by Alaniss Morisette 
  14. Cierra is inspired by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Reilly recommended the biopic “On the Basis of Sex”  

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