Essential Cooking: Chef Phil Jones on doing good with healthy food

David Leins

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In This Episode:

  • How healthy, plant-based foods can make a difference in Detroit communities
  • Chef Phil Jones on his own connection to the city
  • Subtle and tasty ways to improve your health
  • Jones on utilizing restaurant resources at the outset of COVID to feed thousands
  • How telling the right stories about food can contribute to equity in Black and Brown communities

When the pandemic began in spring of 2020, Chef Phil Jones was preparing to start Farmacy Food, a meal prep business that aims to use healthy plant-based foods to address health concerns facing many people in the city of Detroit. He began working on the project after meeting Kwaku Osei through a mutual friend.

“The goals were the same; try to make a difference in Black and Brown communities by using whole foods, using technology, using infrastructure of good to make change in the food systems,” said Chef Jones. “We found that there are needs right here in our community that could be met more readily.”

Originally intended to be a brick-and-mortar establishment, Chef Jones had to change focus to providing home meal prep kits as the pandemic made beginning a new restaurant challenging. Jones wants his food to address health issues facing people who live in areas of the city where fresh food is not available or affordable.

“We are still getting our foot hold and trying to figure out how to best make the changes that we seek a reality in our community,” Jones explains. “We call it therapeutic nutritional intervention, where we are doing things with food in order to make some changes in our daily lives and our health.”

Jones is producing a line of retail products to do just that, including a ranch dressing loaded with turmeric to help lower inflammation in the body.

“Here is somewhere where there is an intervention, but it is a tasty intervention,” said Jones.

As he was working to get his business off the ground, Jones was also playing a large role in connecting food charities across Detroit to use restaurant resources that might have gone to waste otherwise as restaurants closed.

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Photo Credit: Wendy Wei, Pexels

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  • David Leins is a Podcast Coordinator and Producer at WDET. He also oversees the StoryMakers program. When he isn’t making radio and podcasts, David is probably on a hike somewhere marveling at the trees.

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