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How Sara Brito, President of Good Food 100 Restaurants Has Shaken Up The Food Industry

I would love to inspire a movement to make farmers more famous and affluent than celebrities. I would also like to inspire a movement to get people to slow down and eat with others around the table vs. at their desks or in their cars. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Sara Brito, Co-founder, […]

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I would love to inspire a movement to make farmers more famous and affluent than celebrities. I would also like to inspire a movement to get people to slow down and eat with others around the table vs. at their desks or in their cars.


I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Sara Brito, Co-founder, and President Good Food 100 Restaurants

A change maker, strategic thinker, and doer, and sustainable food advocate with a zest for life, Sara Brito is Co-Founder of the Good Food Media Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that produces and publishes the Good Food 100 Restaurants™. Sara is a 20-year food (Chefs Collaborative, Big Green, The Kitchen Restaurant Group, Snooze A.M. Eatery), digital media/technology (Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Digitas), and Fortune 100 (American Express, The New York Times, AOL) industry veteran with a successful track record leading people and change to make big ideas happen. While serving on the Board of Slow Food NYC, she co-created and launched the Slow Food ‘Snail of Approval’ program, a designation given to restaurants, bars, food and beverage artisans that contribute to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food supply of the City of New York. Under Sara’s leadership, Chefs Collaborative was nominated for the 2016 Taste Talks inaugural “Outstanding Nonprofit” award, and four of her past clients, The Kitchen, Big Green, Domino’s, and Vail Resorts (EpicMix), were named to Fast Company’s 2016 and 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies list. She has been quoted in and her work has been featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine (“Broccoli’s Extreme Makeover”). In 2015, she was invited by the U.S. Department of State and the James Beard Foundation to speak at the American Chef Rally at ExpoMilano in Milan, Italy, and in 2018 she was invited by HRH The Prince of Wales to attend a Crop Trust reception at Clarence House in London, England recognizing leaders from around the world for their dedication to sustainability and biodiversity.


Thank you for joining us Sara! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Iwas raised to believe that life revolves around food, literally and figuratively speaking and that what you eat, how it’s produced, and where it comes from matter. I also grew up in Western NY around the time of Love Canal, a 70-acre landfill that became the site of a massive environmental disaster harming the health of hundreds of residents, culminating in an extensive Superfund cleanup operation. Watching the Love Canal disaster, and subsequent corporate cover-up, unfold in real-time, on national television and 15 minutes from where my family lived, you could also say that I grew up with a healthy skepticism of corporations and the so-called “system.” In 2017, after reading The Tampa Bay Times “Farm to Fable” article, I wanted to do something that would help empower chefs that were trying to do the right thing and were truly putting their money where their mouths were.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We’re challenging the status quo, mainstream media, and the cultural conversation around food by advocating that good food is about more than just taste. To be truly good, food must be good for EVERY link in the food chain: the environment; plants and animals; farmers, ranchers, and fishermen; purveyors; restaurants; and eaters.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Kimbal Musk. I collaborated with Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson, co-founders of The Kitchen Restaurant Group, to create the Next Door American Eatery brand and concept, as well as the Big Green national nonprofit. While we worked together, Kimbal always told me not to worry about money and how we would fund our ideas. As an entrepreneur, he inspired and empowered me to focus on coming up with big ideas, and assured me that money would always follow.

Jeff Hermanson, the co-founder of the Good Food Media Network, is an inspiring visionary and change agent whose optimism and support inspire me to believe that it’s possible for a group of committed people to change the world for good. Jeff is one of the key players behind two important redevelopments that have been integral to the revitalization of Downtown Denver: Larimer Square and Denver Union Station. Like the chefs featured on the Good Food 100 Restaurants list, Jeff puts his money where his mouth is, and walks the walk supporting good food entrepreneurs — especially women.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

My Mom encouraged me to be open to everything life has to offer, often quoting Auntie Mame (from the Musical “Mame”) saying, “Life is a Banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.”

“Luck is simply preparation meeting opportunity. Always be prepared and open to opportunity.” I think I may have first learned this from Oprah, and it’s always stuck with me.

This quote from German Poet Rainer Maria Rilke that I discovered during a particularly challenging time when I was contemplating divorce and leaving a job in NYC:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

How are you going to shake things up next?

I’m not sure yet. I’m following the advice of Rainer Maria Rilke, and being patient and sitting with that question. That said, I’m celebrating a milestone birthday this October, so I’m definitely thinking big. Life is short, and I don’t want to have any regrets.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I always find inspiration listening to “The On Being Project” by Krista Tippett that explores deep questions of what it means to be human.

“Slow Food The Case For Taste” by Carlo Petrini was the catalyst in my shift from an individual, mindful eater to a good food advocate and leader of change.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to inspire a movement to make farmers more famous and affluent than celebrities. I would also like to inspire a movement to get people to slow down and eat with others around the table vs. at their desks or in their cars.

Can you please give us your favorite” Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When fears arise, and I start to think that perhaps I’m thinking too big (e.g., Who am I to think I can do something like [fill in the blank]?), this quote encourages me to keep going: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson

This quote reminds me in the face of adversity that change is possible: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

This quote reminds me that change always starts ourselves: “Be the change you want to see in this world.”

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can find me @slowfoodiegirl and @goodfood100list .

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