Events

10 Things Learned at TEDx's Night of Food in Phoenix

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See also: TEDx Evans Churchill event at the Phoenix Convention Center

Working in a food truck is really physically demanding. Brad Moore of Short Leash spoke about making the transition from food truck to brick and mortar restaurant, but before that, he let the audience know that the heat is a very real thing in a food truck kitchen. Imagine being in an 80 square foot metal box with a deep fryer, a grill, a stove top, an oven, and more, all in close quarters with another person.

As he put it, that leaves "no room for any assholery," but it's also something you should really consider before opening up that dumplings food truck. (But someone should really do that, please.)

"Chew your juice." Kelly Watkins of Juby True, a Sam Fox-backed juice bar chain, knows her juice and, as a nurse, knows her nutrition. However, she says the one thing first-time juicers really need to do is swish their juice around, rather than just gulping it down. According to Watkins, a juice isn't a beverage, but more of a super-concentrated elixir. Swishing it before swallowing will help some of those enzymes in your saliva begin to break down the nutrients in the juice.

There are edible weed treats that get you high, and then there are legitimate MMJ-medicated foods that don't. When chef Payton Curry took the stage to talk about edible weed foods, we'll admit we expected a bunch of stoner brownies. Instead, he educated the crowd on the difference between THC-rich treats, which do get you high, and the CBN/CBD infusions he's been working on that have helped families with children who either had severe epilepsy or were autistic with violent episodes. Curry's work is completely legal in the state and his use of all local and organic ingredients means he's feeding these children high-quality, nutritious foods that are also medibles. Between that work and running Brat Haus, you have to wonder where he finds the time.

Payton Curry's punsmanship was on point. What Curry did make plenty of time for was giving the audience pretty much non-stop laughs in a nine minute period with a series of weed-laced dish names. Don't let the funny names fool you, though. His work is really serious.

Gadzooks' assembly line gives the customer control, but also keeps prices down and quality up. Owner Aaron Pool took the stage to dispel thoughts that he stole Chipotle's concept. Really his assembly line ordering process allows the customer to be completely satisfied with the end product by allowing them to call out "audibles" through the whole process. Longer time in the oven? More crema? No problem. This process of mix and match maximizes the ingredients available at Gadzooks, allowing for near-limitless possibilities for combinations.

However, the fast casual approach also allows him to make it a quality-driven product, rather than relying on quantity like a fast food joint. However, since it also isn't a table service restaurant either, he can keep prices lower.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch