In the words of our patron saint Ron Burgundy, Liberty Public Market is kind of a big deal.
Strolling past Mastiff Sausage Company and Crafted Baked Goods in the Market, there's something both familiar and major happening here that I can smell (beyond my favorite Paraná Empanadas): Friendliness and solidarity.
Liberty Public Market stands for more than just a super hip spot to grab a bite; it's yet another showcase of how San Diego's food scene is a flavorful web of artisans helping artisans, chefs teaming up with other chefs and small business owners looking to learn from like-minded individuals, all for a greater good.
Other metropolitan cities might be considered a bit more progressive than San Diego, but they also carry a reputation of cutthroat rivalry, where teamwork is scoffed at rather than embraced.
When a collaborative environment such as Liberty Public Market is born, everyone benefits. More mouths are able to taste a greater variety of cuisines. More business owners are gaining exposure and customers. More diverse San Diegans are hanging out together under one roof, connected by a shared love for food.
Of course, Liberty Public Market isn't the first to embrace this kind of united-food-front. Ever heard of collaboration beers? In San Diego's electric beer community, these brews are more common than not, with brewers using each other's expertise to make something innovative. It's interesting, in an industry than could so easily veer towards competitive, that more and more brewers are instead choosing camaraderie.
Maximum creativity blossoms as a result. Stone Brewing Co. frequently works with other breweries and home brewers to dream up a new hoppy sip. Green Flash's popular Hand Shake IPA is a collaboration with Alpine Beer Co., a brew born out of the relationship between the two breweries' admiration for each other.
There's an actual event series dubbed Collaboration Kitchen in San Diego, an idea from Tommy Gomes of Catalina Offshore Products to bring chefs together with the local food community using Specialty Produce. Guest chefs prepare several seafood dishes in front of a live audience, educating and eating through the gathering. Even better? All proceeds from ticket sales are donated to local nonprofits that benefit children.
The Chef Celebration Spring Dinner Series is currently taking place every Tuesday until May 3. These five-course dinners bring together some of the most popular chefs in San Diego, gathering more than 30 in total through the series. On April 26, the Chef Celebration takes place at Tidal and features Amy DiBiase (Tidal), Accursio Lotta (Solare Ristorante), Patrick Ponsaty (Bellamy's Restaurant), Aaron Obregon (Bay Park Fish Company) and DJ Tangalin (JRDN).
Alliance in the food and drink community is a real accomplishment here, and San Diego's food scene continues to thrive because of the amicable efforts of chefs, brewers, winemakers, business owners and everyone in between.