Regulars and Shorts

Slow Food Utah

By Greta Belanger deJong

Microgrants, awards and the Feast of Five Senses

I  began my love affair with Slow Food Utah maybe 10 years ago, when I attended my first Feast of Five Senses. I was drawn in by the name. How often do we honor the fullness of sensory possibilities when we eat? The high-class cocktails admittedly did heighten the senses. My fellow attendees, few of whom I knew at the time, were convivial; nothing like good food to bring out the best in people. Each course was created by a different chef, who introduced it and shared the provenance of the ingredients—almost all local, from area farms, gardens, fields and streams.

This group, a chapter of the Slow Food movement that began in Italy in 1986, is dedicated to bringing everyone to the table to celebrate the pleasures of good, clean, fair food. They link producers and consumers, foster community with their farm mob work parties and pot lucks, and promote eating local foods.

The pricey ticket turned out to be a steal. All of the money went to fund the organization’s Microgrant Program. Slow Food Utah has raised and distributed over $110,000 to 113 small farms and businesses, schools, and municipalities engaged in helping people grow and eat food that is “good, clean and fair.”

Through the years I’ve come to see up-close and personal the devotion and enthusiasm that motivates both the feast and what it funds. The all-volunteer board of eight is led by longtime president Gwen Crist who, with rockstar member Jude Rubadue, rallies a community of chefs and sponsors to pull off a top-notch party.

With funds from last year’s feast, this year Slow Food Utah distributed $13,000 to nine awardees: Sweet Pea Farm, Rockhill Creamery, Moab Youth Garden Project, Ranui Gardens, Green River PACT, Raclette Machine, Iron County USU, SLC Top Crops and Burningham Bees. The grants will provide funding for cold storage, a greens washer, bees and hive equipment, creamery equipment, rabbits, an irrigation workshop and other items essential for these small, local food producers to thrive.

Chefs and restaurants donate their time for this sumptuous fine-dining experience. Ingredients are procured from local growers. This year’s feastmakers include Shon Foster, Sego Restaurant; Logen Crew, SLC Eatery; Alan Brines, Current Fish & Oyster; Mariah Christensen & Casey Bowthorpe, Harmons; Park City Culinary Institute; Buzz Willey, Pallet; Nathan Powers, Bambara; Adam Kreisel, Chaia Cucina; Romina Rasmussen, Les Madeleines; Millcreek Cacao. Wine by Francis Fecteau, Libation LLC; craft cocktail by Water Witch; Caribbean tonics by Van Kwartel; coffee by Caffe Ibis.

Sponsors include Harmons, Creminelli Fine Meats, Caputo’s, Beehive Cheese and Laziz Kitchen. The Feast is accompanied by a renowned silent auction, with many of the items related to Slow Food Utah’s mission.

Winners of the 2019 Snail Awards, the group’s annual tradition to honor those in our community who are dedicated to Slow Food principles and ardent supporters of Slow Food Utah, will be announced at the Feast.


—Greta Belanger dejong


15th annual Feast of Five Senses.
Sunday, October 20, 5:30pm.
Salt Lake Masonic Temple (650 E. So. Temple)
$125 (plus $25 for optional wine pairings)
Info and tickets: 

This article was originally published on September 30, 2019.