Charleen Badman of FnB Restaurant: 2014 Urban Legend Award, Culinary Arts
In honor of the fifth annual Big Brain Awards, New Times is recognizing five Urban Legends, established creative pioneers who have made Phoenix a better, cooler place.
Lauren Saria Charleen Badman in her home garden.
"We'll accomplish so much more if we work together," FnB chef Charleen Badman says.
She's sitting in one of the cozy dining rooms at her Scottsdale restaurant talking about her vision for schools and food education. The James Beard Award-nominated chef is passionate about lots of things -- yoga, gardening, and, of course, cooking -- and near (if not at) the top of the list is teaching young people where food comes from.
See also: Announcing the 2014 Big Brain Finalists
Lauren Saria Badman's home garden includes two garden beds packed with herbs, vegetables, and fruit.
"You have to start young," she says. "It would have been helpful if someone had started [teaching] me earlier."
Badman has become famous for her singular capability to turn vegetables into culinary masterpieces, but she admits she wasn't always a veggie lover.
In 2010, Badman made drastic changes to her diet and lifestyle, including giving up meat (though she still tastes everything that comes out of the kitchen at FnB). As a result, she began to focus more on cooking with vegetables both at home and at the restaurant, which in turn led to an interest in gardening. The hobby started with pots on her apartment patio and since has grown to include two four-by-four-foot garden beds, two large composters, and dozens of potted plants.