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Chipotle serves up good eats with a side of food education at Cultivate!

Chef Sean Brock at Cultivate Festival, Irving

There is nothing in this world that brings people together like friends, good music, and food! So thats why Chipotle created the Cultivate Festival back in 2011. They wanted to raise awareness of the impact that food has on society and to get people thinking about food and food issues.

Steve Ells founded Chipotle in 1993 with the idea that fast food didn't have to be....well....fast food. With the vision of "food with integrity", Chipotle prides themselves on seeking better food from using raw, fresh ingredients that are responsibly raised with the respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food.

Taking place at Lake Carolyn in Irving, Tx- Cultivate starts you off with a large variey of food to choose from. I mean if barbocoa gorditas wasn't enough, you certainly would get your fill of grilled chicken tacos, roasted corn salad, or even a jasmine rice bowl from the Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen. So you mean to tell me that there was no "finish it later" burritos? No there wasn't. But there was great food made from all natural ingredients that was created exclusively for the Cultivate festival. But the food didnt stop there. Inside the Artisan Hall contained DFW's local artisans such as Texas Toffee, The Brownie Cottage, and Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters. You didn't know that you had all of this homemade goodness literally around the corner at your fingertips did you?

Upon arrival, guests are given "Cultivate passport", to explore and learn about food in a way that you have never experienced food before. The "Experience" stations ranged from subjects like processed vs. unprocessed, GMO's (Genetically Modifed Organisms), and Guac made from scratch where you literally watched how Chipotle makes there fresh guacamole! And the prize at the end of this adventure? Free food and drink item! (yes!)

In attendence at Cultivate, was a handful of celebrity chefs from all over the US of A including Dallas' very own Kent Rathbun, Matt McAllister, and Omar Flores that showed us how to throw down when it comes to the art of culinary mastery. This was exciting because you got to witness first hand on what they do to make some of your favorite dishes, and the oppurtunity to interact with the chefs and the farmers that bring you joy each night at the dinner table.

So finally...if this all wasn't enough, Chipotle brought in some great entertainment to keep the crowd moving with great acts such as Amos Lee, DJ Chris Golub, and one of my favorites of the day, OAR. There is nothing like a concert atmosphere to have a great time with friends.

I believe the Culitivate Festival is a breath of fresh for the DFW metroplex in terms of events. It wasn't about just eating food and listening to great music. It was a much deeper experience and education on the old cliche' of "you are what you eat". We as humans take so much for granted and never make time to slow down and find out what's going on around us. We live in a "right now" generation. We want it all "right now". In this case food is no diffferent, we want food, and we want it now! We live in a fast paced society where we drive up to a window to get our food, versus sitting down at the diner table to enjoy family. I think Chipotle is on the right track to not only educate us about what we are putting in our bodies, but more importantly bringing people back together again.

By Cy Davison

Photo Credit: Beyond Reach Media

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