Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Virginia Willis, a graduate of L'Academie de Cuisine and Ecole de Cuisine LaVarenne, is the author of "Bon Appétit, Y’all" and "Basic to Brilliant, Y'all."
As a chef and food writer, I rarely eat fast food. The quality is generally atrocious and much of it is radically unhealthy. The menu offerings are the polar opposite of local and seasonal. There are dire implications concerning worker’s rights and wages, as well as animal welfare and factory farms.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the country, every interstate exit is identical with the same usual suspects offering the same sad sacks of chemically laced, artificially flavored fare, all swimming in high-fructose corn syrup. Cheap, fast food is at the core of what is wrong with our food system.
Yet, there’s one thing that trumps my French-training and chef sensibilities; I love Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A restaurants' philanthropic WinShape Foundation no longer funds the most controversial and politically charged anti-same-sex-marriage groups and has not since 2011, according to Campus Pride, a leading national LGBT campus organization.
Campus Pride issued a statement Monday claiming that Chick-fil-A gave the organization's executive director, Shane Windmeyer, access to WinShape's 2011 "990" tax documents.
He said they show that the nearly $6 million in outside grant funding "focuses on youth, education, marriage enrichment and local communities" and that in the list of the foundation's beneficiaries, "the most divisive, anti-LGBT groups are no longer listed." Among those groups were the Family Research Council, Eagle Forum and Exodus International.
Read the full story - Pride group: Chick-fil-A doesn't fund most divisive groups
Following the Chick-Fil-A controversy, Bread8 Productions digs deep into food and gay culture in Austin to see which foods are gay and which are straight.
iReport producer Jareen says:
Chick-fil-A says it set a sales record on Wednesday, the day that supporters rallied around the fast-food chain amid a debate over its president's opposition to same-sex marriage.
The chain said it won't release sales numbers, but "we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day," said Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of marketing.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had called on people to buy food at the chain on Wednesday, which he dubbed "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," after a backlash against the company and their president.
Read the full story - 'Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day' sets record, restaurant chain says
The row over same-sex marriage could see thousands of Christians flocking to Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, while same-sex couples will turn up at the fast-food chain Friday for public displays of affection.
Both events are intended as mass shows of support by people on both sides of the marriage issue and mark the latest round in a long-standing beef that gay and lesbian rights groups have with Chick-fil-A's leadership, which has openly espoused biblical values, not only in its operating principles, but in its conservative definition of family as well.
The controversy came to a boil after an interview with the fast food restaurant chain's president and COO Dan Cathy appeared in The Baptist Press on July 16, in which he weighed in with his views on family.
Read the full story - Eat Mor Chikin: Chick-fil-A's stance on same-sex marriage faces test
Editor's Note: Steve McDonagh owns and operates Hearty Restaurant and The Hearty Boys Caterers with his partner, Dan Smith. In addition to winning the first season of Food Network's hit series "Food Network Star," Smith and McDonagh live in Chicago with their son, Nate.
I am not a Dan Cathy basher. I respect Chick-fil-A's Chief Operating Officer for taking an honest stand and putting his business in the line of fire by clarifying the company’s stance on gay marriage.
It takes guts to be responsible for your words. It takes a person of conviction who is willing to bear the repercussions from those who dislike what he has to say. And in a political climate where our politicians are afraid to say anything off-prompter, lest it be twisted and dissected for hidden meaning, the responsible are difficult to find.
I’ve been vocal about my political and social convictions for years. My guess is that Cathy would be surprised at how much he and I have in common.
The comments about same-sex marriage made by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy a week ago continue to generate controversy this week, with politicians and puppets, well at least their handlers, weighing in.
"Guilty as charged," Cathy was quoted as saying in the Baptist Press last week when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to same-sex marriage.
Over at the Belief Blog our colleague Dan Gilgoff delves into the ongoing flap between gay rights supporters and the management of fast food chain Chick-fil-A.
The restaurants, founded by businessman Truett Cathy in 1960s Atlanta, operate on a "Five–Step Recipe for Business Success" that includes a mandate for all branches to remain closed on Sundays as "our way of honoring God and of directing our attention to things that mattered more than our business" and puts "principles and people ahead of profits" through community service.
At least one of Chick-fil-A's other three guiding principles is in peril, though: Never lose a customer. Activists and gay rights groups including the Human Rights Campaign launched a letter writing campaign after the company donated free food to a marriage seminar sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Institute, an organization opposed to gay marriage.