Celebrating Saffron with Rumi Spice at Chicago's The Blanchard
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We had the honor of attending an amazing celebration of saffron last week hosted by our great friend and fellow veteran Caroline Taft, of the Brazen Gourmand at the Blanchard with Chef Ryan Burns. This post and photography is brought to you by Caroline and the Brazen Gourmand.
Last Thursday I had the absolute pleasure of hosting an intimate dinner at The Blanchardcelebrating my friends and fellow West Point graduates and U.S. Army veterans fromRumi Spice. We started the evening with a welcome champagne and a scallop crudo amuse-bouche. Afterwards, making our way to the dining room to enjoy five incredible courses by Executive Chef Ryan Burns all featuring Rumi’s Afghan Saffron.
Rumi Spice has an impressive story with an even more remarkable mission. Rumi co-founder and fellow former U.S. Army officer Kim Jung, while deployed to Afghanistan, shared an unforgettable meal with a group of Afghan women. Around that table, where food brought a community so closely together, the spirit of Rumi Spice took form. After leaving the military and graduating from Harvard Business School, Kim and co-founders Keith and Emily launched Rumi from its present location on the Southside of Chicago.
Rumi Spice empowers Afghan women, currently employing more than 300 women in Herat Province. This Certified B Corporation helps bolster the country’s economy by partnering with Afghan farmers to bring the highest quality, sustainably farmed saffron to customers around the world. They supply some of the world's finest saffron to global dining destinations including The French Laundry, Daniel, Bouley, and Le Bernardin, and Chicago's NAHA, Acadia and The Blanchard.
On this particular late August evening, we had the pleasure of enjoying Rumi Spice's Afghan saffron highlighted in a pleasantly diverse and expertly executed contemporary French menu from The Blanchard's Chef Burns and company. The evening was made all the more lively by comical banter withDavid Manilowof Check, Please!, tips for using saffron in your home cooking fromChef Carrie Nahabedianof Chicago's beloved NAHA, and fellow food bloggers sharing past encounters with saffron.
I am incredibly proud of Rumi Spice's work thus far and excited to see them continue their powerful mission in Afghanistan. If you haven't caught the episode yet, watch for Rumi on Shark Tank (spoiler: they land a deal with Mark Cuban).