The Tucson City of Gastronomy has selected its 2021 Certified Restaurants and the first representatives of the new categories of Certified Food Artisans and Beverage Artisans.
It's a true honor to join, too. The application narrows it down to a total of 25 locally owned, independent restaurants and 15 local food and beverage artisans. Now, each business will be specially promoted by Visit Tucson, the Pima County Visitors' Center, Tucson City of Gastronomy, and its partners.
"We are inspired by the resilience of the restaurants and artisans who applied even during this challenging time for the culinary industry," said Tucson City of Gastronomy Directory, Jonathan Mabry, "and can't wait to spread the word about how the 2021 selections are supporting our local food economy, taking extra care of their employees, giving back to the community, and keeping our food heritage alive."
So, what makes these restaurants and local businesses stand out?
In this group of new certifications, all of the businesses source ingredients from local producers, partner with other food businesses, and use heritage ingredients in many of their menu items and artisanal products.
Another thing that all of the 2021 Certified Restaurants and Artisans do is give back to the community in various ways. This could be hiring people facing obstacles or donating and fundraising the Community Food Bank, soup kitchens, or women's shelters.
"We want these certifications to bring more customers to these uniquely local businesses that sustain our internationally recognized food culture, to help them survive the current extinction event happening nationally for independent restaurants and other non-chain food businesses," said Mabry.
Tucson City of Gastromony's President, Janos Wilder, sees the program as an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the city's food culture.
"Each of these restaurants and artisans represent our City of Gastronomy with their own unique identities and perspectives of what it means to live, work, and cook here," said Wilder. "Their employment practices are aspirational models of how modern, independent businesses can work to better their communities."
Did you know that Tucson has the only certification program?
The city is leading the way among the 36 UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy in 19 countries around the world with the program, and the next call for certification applications will be announced this summer.
For more information, visit tucson.cityofgastronomy.org.
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