Now in their fourth year, the INDY’s Food Triangles honor leaders in our food and beverage industries who are making our region a more inclusive, sustainable, and thoughtful place to not only eat and drink but also to live. This year’s three winners challenge us to reconsider the way we approach food and be more mindful about who is making, growing, or serving it to us, and how those decisions affect the larger community. The recipients—a venerated chef, an entrepreneurial duo, and a nonprofit restaurant—embody that ethos by giving a voice to those with whom they work and serve. 

Bill Smith

Though Bill Smith, the venerable chef at Chapel Hill institution Crook’s Corner, recently retired, his legacy will endure for generations. Sure, his dishes—the legendary shrimp ’n’ grits and honeysuckle sorbet—have a reputation of their own. But Smith will also be remembered for his character: the loyalty he engendered among his staff, the way he cared for his employees, and for his role as an outspoken voice on immigration issues. 

Tina Prevatte Levy and Jennifer Curtis

Before Tina Prevatte Levy and Jennifer Curtis co-founded Firsthand Foods, chefs, institutions, and consumers didn’t have a consistently reliable source for local, pasture-raised meats from small farms, and small farmers didn’t have the marketing savvy or distribution methods to reach new markets. Since its founding in 2010, Firsthand Foods has not only bridged that gap and changed the way that meat is raised, distributed, and consumed locally, but it’s also had a multiplier effect on our local food economy and our collective well-being.

Carroll’s Kitchen 

Carroll’s Kitchen, a nonprofit Raleigh cafe with locations downtown and in the Morgan Street Food Hall, is unique in that it employs and trains women in crisis, giving them not only a safe, supportive place to work, but also a support network to help them rebuild their lives and flourish. The organization’s staff, as well as the women it employs, are a shining example of the power of positive change that happens when a community has its residents’ backs.