We are thrilled to announce the 11 Summit Scholarship winners who will join us in Boulder this September for the Chefs Collaborative Sustainable Food Summit. Congratulations, chefs!

These 11 chefs are on the leading edge of the sustainable food movement and we’ll be featuring them on our blog all week.

Let me introduce you one of our recipients, Chef Sam Monsour of The Future of Junk Food. Sam joined Chefs Collaborative in 2013 while he was working at jm Curley in Boston.

One of Sam’s signature moves in Boston was re-making popular junk food favorites to feature local, sustainable (and healthier) ingredients. In spring 2013, Sam featured menu specials like jelly donuts filled with local jam and “spray cheese” with Vermont cheddar. Sam attended his first Chefs Collaborative Summit in Charleston in November 2013, and he also cooked with us during our 2014 Boston Trash Fish Dinner.

Sam’s passion for fixing our broken food system shines through the moment you meet him. We are thrilled to have him with us in Boulder this fall as his project takes flight and he moves west to LA. I sat down with Sam last week to hear more about his latest projects, and what he’s most looking forward to at this year’s Summit.

CHEFS COLLABORATIVE: Sam, what’s unique about your kitchen?

SAM: Well, haha, probably the most unique thing about it is that it changes every time I cook. Literally. Because I am somewhat of a wandering cook these days. I’m lucky to have a network of amazing chefs that not only keep me inspired with their creativity and thoughtfulness, but help me thrive with their generosity to share their space. I’ve been cooking out of dozens of kitchens over that past 8 months. The challenges are similar to that of on-site catering, so its totally doable. (I love my homie Michael Scelfo’s rational combi w/ smoker attachment).

Samuel Monsour

CHEFS COLLABORATIVE: What’s the most important step chefs can take to make their kitchens more sustainable?

SAM: That’s a tough question, because I’m sure that there are many answers. If I had to share what has worked the best for me, I’d have to quote Nas and say, “hell yeah, awareness is my alias.” Become aware of chefs that are currently leading the sustainable movement, reach out to them, start a personal relationship with them, and learn how you can implement what they have been working so hard to achieve. Michael Leviton is a great example of that.

As a Boston chef myself, Michael is a man that I have extremely high regards for. I had never had the opportunity to met him until last year’s Summit in Charleston. Michael and I have since collaborated. We have pulled off two dinners together, and I’ve been lucky enough to pick his brain on sustainability several times. Networking is real! And its why I think the Collaborative is so powerful and productive.

CHEFS COLLABORATIVE: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event?

SAM:  I’m looking forward seeing familiar faces, making new relationships, experiencing the scenery and flavor of Boulder, and gaining an overall awareness of what has happened since we last got together in November of 2013. I know I will learn some cool new philosophies on how to implement sustainable practices in my business, crush some local pints with friends, and find Boulder’s equivalent of Charleston’s skeevy pizza dive Gilroy’s…

And of course, strapping on my Vibram fivefinger barefoot trekking shoes and becoming one with nature and my primal side as I head into the Rockies with wild mushroom enthusiast Michael Heim for an afternoon mushroom foray and walk in the woods. (plus a whole lot more).

CHEFS COLLABORATIVE: What’s next for you?

SAM: Well, hopefully, there’s plenty in store for LA. Aside from taking The Future of Junk Food to the national stage, I’m hoping to finally get my non-profit, Project Hunger Apron, established. I’d love to keep you posted as things progress, but for now, its just a whole lot of planning diligently and finding the right partners…