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I am Oaklandish: EAT

The I Am Oaklandish campaign features true Oakland originals from all walks of life. They give our city its oddball spirit, its passion for justice, and its creative vigor. They lift us up with laughter, peace, nourishment, and authentic hard work. They make us proud to call this town our home. They are Oaklandish.

As a port city with people from all over the world, Oaklanders are always open to new tastes. No flavor is too exotic — and if your food isn't legit, no manner of fancy presentation will keep people from ditching you for the $3 banh mi joint around the corner.

But the people in this photo are more than good cooks. They believe that good food shouldn't be a privilege, and social justice starts at the dinner table. Through education, outreach, home gardening and really tasty waffles, they're working to elevate Oakland flavor — and make sure that everyone here is well-nourished.

KIM ALTER built up a following at several Bay Area restaurants before landing an executive chef gig at Daniel Patterson’s new venture, Haven. She cooks with seasonal, fresh ingredients, but isn’t afraid to add a renegade twist to California cuisine.

Tell us what you do, and why you do it.

I am the chef at Haven in Jack London square. I have always been in the restaurant business and love that I can be creative every day.

What's your favorite part of your job?

Teaching the staff and clientele about food and being able to learn and grow from them, too. It's a two-way street — every day someone teaches me something.

What do you love about Oakland that you can't find anywhere else?

It used to be Mom before she moved out of state! Now it has to be the loyalty and acceptance of the community. At Haven we feel stoked on all the locals and the people who keep coming back.

What does it mean to be Oaklandish?

To be yourself while respecting the environment around you.

BRYANT TERRY is a nationally respected chef, educator, and author renowned for his pioneering work in creating a just and sustainable food system. His mentor Alice Waters says, “Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege.”

He is the author of two books and co-author of one. His interest in cooking, farming, and community health stretches back to his childhood in Tennessee where his grandparents inspired him to grow, cook, and appreciate good food.

Tell us what you do, and why you do it.

I use the sensual pleasures of the table to help shift people's attitudes, habits, and politics around food.

What's your favorite part of your job?

Eating.

What do you love about Oakland that you can't find anywhere else?

Malong Pendar's A Taste of Africa pop-up restaurant at Room 389 on Tuesday nights.

What does it mean to be Oaklandish?

I thought Oaklandish meant “Oakland Ish” as in "That Oakland s**t!"

TANYA HOLLAND is the executive chef and owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side BBQ in “Sweet West Oakland.” She’s known for her inventive takes on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics. After college, she worked in New York City, and decided that she wanted to elevate soul food the way Mario Batali did for Italian. Her waffles have earned raves from Oprah, Gourmet Magazine, and many more publications.

NOVELLA CARPENTER started with a few chickens, then some bees — soon she had a full-blown farm near downtown Oakland. Her memoir, Farm City, was published in 2009. She works as an urban farmer, blogger, and freelance journalist, and focuses on subjects like food, culture, the environment, and people who follow unusual paths. Her neighbors still think she’s crazy.

Tell us what you do, and why you do it.

I run GhostTown Farm, which is a mini farm near downtown Oakland. I raise honey bees, fruit trees, veggies, and ducks.

What's your favorite part of your job?

Eating — and sharing — all the produce grown on the farm.

What do you love about Oakland that you can't find anywhere else?

The people of Oakland are so open and friendly, curious and positive.

What does it mean to be Oaklandish?

It's about helping each other — whether that means helping push a stalled car, growing food, or rounding up an escaped pig.

CHRIS PASTENA has worked in the restaurant industry for over 25 years. He’s also the owner/operator of the wildly successful Chop Bar in Oakland, CA. Chop Bar has received national acclaim for its food, cocktails, wine on tap system, and décor.

Tell us what you do, and why you do it.

I do what I do because I never want to feel like I am working and I feel like I have never worked a day in my life.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is finding new ingredients and and using them in new ways!

What do you love about Oakland that you can't find anywhere else?

DIVERSITY!!!!

What does it mean to be Oaklandish?

To love where you live and work toward a common goal of growth.


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