Caring Chef: Doug Robson Gives Back to Schools and Students

Photo by Neal Mei

Chef Doug Robson, owner of two popular Mexican restaurants in Phoenix, strongly believes in giving back to the community. Robson, who was born in Mexico City and attended Scottsdale Culinary Institute, opened Gallo Blanco in 2009 and Otro Café in 2013.

“The community invested in me over the years, from teachers and guidance counselors to chefs and mentors, and paying it forward is important,” he said.

Robson volunteers with Blue Watermelon Project, an initiative of Slow Food Phoenix. Farmers, chefs and the community work together to advocate for nutritious food in schools and educate students about healthy eating through school gardens and hands-on lessons.

Robson and other local chefs, including Carlos Diaz, who works at Robson’s restaurants, are mentors for Blue Watermelon Project’s Feeding the Future competition, where students create school menus for the opportunity to win scholarships.

As a parent, working with students is very rewarding for Robson. “As chefs, we can get caught up in our kitchens, and working with kids is a reminder that food should be about fun and nourishment. It connects us with the community outside of work and opens our eyes to how we can help,” he said.

Robson and Diaz also volunteer with the Mollen Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to educating schools and communities to adopt healthy habits. Through the foundation, Robson and Diaz work with students at Garfield Elementary using ingredients from the community garden to create healthy menu items.

“It’s impactful for kids to see where food comes from and it makes a lasting impression,” said Robson. “It’s a worthwhile investment in the community and the future.”


About Shoshana Leon

Shoshana Leon is a culinary writer for Frontdoors Media and creator of Foodie Fo Sho.

From Frontdoors Magazine

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