The Backyard Chicken–Loving Future Chef You Need to Know About

Young people today often get a bad rap, but there are kids out there who are helping to make this world a better place—and where better to start than at the dinner table?

September 12, 2014

Much of what we hear about kids these days slants to the negative: "They're always on their phones!" or "They have no respect anymore!" But, this simply isn't fair. There are young ones out there who are concerned, curious, and interested in making a difference. There are kids who care about their futures and the futures of kids who will come after them. When we meet younglings like that, it's important that we call attention to them, give them the spotlight they deserve.

One such activist is Orren Fox, a beekeeper and hen raiser from Newburyport, Massachusetts. And in Ramin Ganeshram's upcoming FutureChefs: Recipes by Tomorrow's Cooks Across the Nation and the World we learn about Orren's story and get our hands on an original recipe from the chef himself.


Check out this excerpt about Orren in FutureChefs:

For some young cooks, preparing food is as much a call to social action as it is a hobby. Orren Fox is one of those cooks. He first became interested in the plight of farm animals before he was 10 years old after a trip to a babysitter's farm. Since then, Orren has been spreading the message of animal kindness through his blog, Happy Chickens.

Orren, who is still just a high school student, has made a name for himself as an animal activist to watch through blogging for sites like Civil Eats and HandPicked Nation, as well as appearing in media such as NPR, Edible Boston, the Boston Globe, and Yankee Magazine.

When it comes to chemical use for chicken farming and beekeeping, Orren steers clear. The animals are important to Orren, and he respects them for their work, saying, "I love going out to the chicken coop or to the beehives to see what the girls have done. They are hard workers." (Here's why you really need to know your beekeeper.)

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While he says he's not much of a cook, Orren has harvested honey from his bees and knows how to use that bounty to enhance the natural qualities of other simple foods. His recipe below for Honey-Toasted Carrots sounds like the perfect side dish at an autumn dinner. The honey helps the carrots caramelize, giving them a subtle sweet flavor. Bon appétit!

Honey-Toasted Carrots

1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch baby carrots, trimmed
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a deep saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add the salt. Add the baby carrots and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.

3. While the carrots are cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and soy sauce

4. Drain the carrots, add them to the bowl with the honey mixture, and toss the carrots well so they are completely coated. Arrange the carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet or in an oven-safe baking dish.

5. Roast the carrots until they begin to lightly brown, about 15 minutes.