About — Community Work
Maria Hines Restaurants is passionate about giving our guests an inspired experience of well executed, creative cuisine along with knowledgeable, nurturing service, that supports the local, sustainable, and organic community.
A restaurant is a place that creates community. So anyone who eats is part of that community.
In my opinion, the dinner table is a place where affection is shown through cooking and restoring nourishment for those you care about. Having restaurants allows my team and I the opportunity to show affection to a larger community.
In the links below you will find other ways in which I’m working with both the local and national community. This community work is based on the principle that every human being should have the right to afford and access safe, healthy, sustainable food.
On 9/7/12, Chef Maria Hines became part of the American Chef Corps. Less than 100 chefs across the nation were chosen for this honor. The Diplomatic Culinary Partnership was initiated by Hillary Rodham Clinton. The mission is to incorporate food, hospitality, and the dining experience into Hillary Clinton’s “smart power” approach to diplomacy, which encourages the use of every diplomatic tool available to share our values, promote mutual understanding, and create conditions for a peaceful, stable, prosperous world. The partnership will strengthen the Department of State’s formal diplomatic engagements with foreign leaders and will foster cross-cultural exchange between our nation and others around the world.
The American Chef Corps is a network of chefs from across the country who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State in its efforts to incorporate culinary engagement into its ongoing public diplomacy efforts.
In 2012, Chef Maria did her 1st assignment, in Sicily working with the US embassy in naples to promote a Sicilian-American cross-cultural exchange through a cooking demonstration of an American thanksgiving traditional dish inspired by Sicilian ingredients. It was aired on a local Sicilian television channel.
Chef Maria attended the pilot chef boot camp for policy and change and was then invited back by the James Beard Foundation as the representing alumni to talk to the following year’s chef boot campers. The chef’s boot camp for policy and change provides a unique opportunity for civically and politically minded chefs to become more effective leaders for food-system change. During thematic retreats around the country, participants receive advocacy and media training while learning about important issues, challenges, and opportunities facing the food world. The goal is to build a growing network of like minded chefs, to provide support for personal interests and passions, and give tools and guidance that will help them act as influential advocates.
Chef Maria has become an adviser to the Chef Action Network (CAN) that is being supported by the James Beard Foundation. This up and coming non profit organization connects chefs to the experts, tools and resources they need to create lasting change in their communities, the country, and the world. CAN is focused on harnessing the power of America’s preeminent chefs to help create awareness about, and inspire people to take action in support of-a strong, just, and healthy food system.
Chef Maria was so inspired by the chef boot camp, that she invited the James Beard Foundation to come and facilitate a Seattle salon in July of 2013. The salon consisted of 12 Seattle chefs and 12 local food advocacy and policy representatives. The goal was to allow chefs to engage, learn, collaborate, network, and take action in their effort to heal our city’s, our nation’s, and our planet’s broken food system. The James Beard Foundation was so pleased by the outcome that they will use the James Beard Seattle salon as a pilot to reproduce in other local communities.
Superchefs Against Superbugs is a movement of chefs who want to stop the overuse of antibiotics in the production of chickens, cows, and pigs. the program was initiated by the Pew charitable trust campaign on human health and industrial farming. Chef Maria has signed on as a superchef for the program, along with other celebrity chefs such as Hugh Acheson, Sam Talbot, Tom Colicchio, Suzanne Goin and Mary Sue Milliken, to name a few.
In August of 2013, Chef Maria is hosted a happy hour talk to promote passing legislation to ensure that genetically engineered foods are labeled in Washington state. She will be partnering with Theo’s Chocolate Company on other Yes on 522 campaigns, to work on the issue.
Chef Maria has been working on fundraising, educational outreach, and lending support to the Seattle based Fresh Bucks program. Fresh Bucks is a nutrition incentive program launched in 2012 that doubles the purchasing power for low-income Seattle residents who use their federal food stamp benefits (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. Fresh Bucks helps low-income families afford healthy foods, diversifies the customer base of farmers markets, and keeps food dollars in our regional economy. Many low-income individuals find that cost is a primary barrier to eating recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, and Fresh Bucks helps them to afford these foods.
Chef Maria has had long term relationships with the farmers, ranchers, and fishers from whom she sources her food at Maria Hines Restaurants. Some of her favorite farmers, due to their amazing product, commitment to sustainability, and just being all around amazing human beings are Skagit River Ranch, St. Jude’s fishing vessel, Loki Fish, Full Circle Farms, Oxbow Farms, Alvarez Farms, Aspen Hollow Sheep Station, Sylver Fishing Company, Penn Cove Mussels, Taylor Shellfish, Jerzy Boy Apples, Kings Gardens, Billys Farms, Fraga Farm, Fresh Breeze, and Foraged & Found Edibles.
Chef Maria was a board member of the non profit, PCC Farmland Trust. The land trust’s mission is to secure, preserve, and steward threatened farmland in the northwest, ensuring that generations of local farmers continue productive farming using sustainable, organic growing methods. The Farmland Trust takes its mission one step further by working to place farmers on rescued property, actively producing food for the local community. Some of the farmland the trust has saved include Full Circle Farm, Growing Things, Nash’s, Bennington Place, Jubilee Farm, 20 Acres Farm, and Tahoma Farm.
Chef Maria is the co-founder and co-chair of Seattle Restaurant Week. There are over 165 restaurants that benefit from this promotion in the greater Seattle area. It’s a fantastic time for Seattle diners to receive a special discount during select weeks throughout the year. For more information, visit www.srw.seattletimes.com.
In March of 2014 Chef Maria participated in an event here in Seattle to help promote passage of the Pulse Health Initiative. The initiative is an addendum to the current Farm Bill before the U.S. Congress. Washington Senator Maria Cantwell is sponsoring the bill in order to help fight the growing epidemic of obesity in America, particularly in children.
The Pulse Health Initiative is under the Research Title of the Farm Bill. The Pulse Health Initiative aims to find solutions, through research on pulse crops, to the critical health and sustainability challenges facing the US and the world. The initiative will focus on three major goals: 1) Reducing Obesity and Chronic Diseases; 2) Reducing Global Hunger; and 3) Improving Sustainability. Pulse crops are nutrient dense foods that are high in dietary fiber, potassium, protein and other nutrients. They are also one of the few crops that fix nitrogen in the soil. Unfortunately, the lack of research on these crops has become an impediment to unlocking the potential health and sustainability benefits pulse crops have to offer.