Chipotle Cultivate Festival gives demonstrations on healthy eating

By Kevin Bartelt

I spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Chicago eating great food. What makes me any different from 2.7 million other Chicagoans? I learned where my food came from, how it was raised and how the farmers took care of the livestock.

The second annual Chipotle Cultivate Festival took place in Lincoln Park this weekend. Not only was the festival educational and delicious, but admission was free. The event had over 20 tents with food, drinks, information about Chipotle, live music and famous chefs demonstrating how to cook tasty and healthy meals.

As I entered the park, I received a pamphlet with five circles to be stamped. After four circles were stamped, I received a coupon for a free burrito. Sounds easy, right? Well…it was. Each tent took, at most, 30 seconds to find.

At the Farm Facts tent, I learned a lot about the horrible conditions in which most livestock live. I would delve into some gory facts, but I don’t want you to lose your appetite.

Fortunately, Chipotle gets its meat from the best farmers in Wisconsin, and they raise their animals naturally.

“We raise our animals like children,” said a Chipotle farmer in an informational video playing at the Cinema tent. “We can tell just by the slightest discomfort if our cows are sick.”

Chipotle farmers really go out of their way so their animals live a happy and healthy life. Farmers know a cow’s temperature simply by touching it (bring that up at your next date).

Although there were dozens of people at each tent, the live chefs easily won over the audience. Of the few chefs I saw, each one had over 100 people watching them. These men and women are world-renowned chefs. Richard Blais was the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars. Amanda Freitag, former executive chef of New York City’s The Harrison, battled Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America. The chefs also added a great sense of humor to their cooking segments.

“Who hasn’t had chicken tenders at a hotel and wiped their fingers off with the bath towel?” Blais asked.

If you are interested in learning about how animals are raised to become your next meal, enjoy live music, want to see a famous chef in person or simply like Chipotle, keep the Chipotle Cultivate Festival in mind for next year.