Food as a Verb: Spotlighting Chattanooga food in all its forms

Meet the folks behind Food as a Verb, a local publication dedicated to telling the stories behind Chattanooga’s food scene.

NOOGAtoday | David Cook, Sarah Unger, and Alex Dehart standing at a booth next to a sign that reads "Food as a Verb stories that feed people."

Meet David Cook, Sarah Unger, and Alex DeHart — the folks behind Food as a Verb.

Photo provided by Food as a Verb

What comes to mind when you think of the word food? It might be sustenance or necessity, but what if food was framed as an identity that connects us all?

This idea is the heartbeat behind the local publication Food as a Verb. Pioneered by Chattanoogans David Cook, Sarah Unger, and Alex DeHart + Julie Ellison who joined in late 2023, this team is dedicated to telling the stories of local food, farmers, chefs, and restaurants — from seed to plate, and everything in between.

It’s no secret that Chattanooga has a robust food scene, but the relationship with the food and where it comes from can often be forgotten. Cook said Food as a Verb was born out of the intent to help us remember that food means something more to us as humans — that it represents community, meaning, pleasure, comfort, and memory.

You won’t find things like restaurant reviews in Food as a Verb, instead think of the publication as a storytelling version of the Slow Food Movement. You’ll find calming, nourishing stories about how food integrates with everyday life.

NOOGAtoday | Food as a Verb

Read the stories behind your favorite local food, restaurants, and farmers in this publication.

Photo provided by Food as a Verb

Ready to dig in? To get you started, here are some of Cook + Unger’s favorite stories they’ve told so far.

“The Future of Local Food? Let’s Call It East Tennessee Wheat” | The owner of Niedlov’s Bakery & Cafe Erik Zilen’s vision of locally made bread — from the grain planted to the bread being baked.

“This Restaurant Tastes Like Freedom: A Story That Took 31 Years to Tell” | The story of Bryan Slayton, owner of Bad Wraps, Inc. on East MLK Boulevard.

“Lunch at LUNCH: One of the Most Meaningful Meals of 2023" | Read about this restaurant in nearby Sewanee dedicated to local food + community.

“When a Restaurant Tells a Story: Khaled AlBanna and the Beautiful Voice from Six Thousand Miles Away” | Hear about the dreams Palestinian-Jordanian chef Khaled AlBanna has for local restaurant Calliope.

Hungry for more? Sign up for Food as a Verb’s free weekly newsletter + make sure to give their Instagram page a follow to check out more happenings.

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