As executive chef and owner of Edge restaurant, Dustin Allen is leading the charge to create a positive impact in central Illinois through his farm-to-table philosophy of enjoying the bounty of the earth while cooking in the moment. His restaurant supports local farms and communities by expanding the Peoria-area foodshed—the geographical area in which food is both produced and consumed.
An active leader in Peoria County’s efforts for a strong food-based economy, Allen orders more than 90 percent of his ingredients from local farms. He builds relationships with each of the farmers, making regular visits to learn about their operations, and inviting them to dine at Edge to learn more about his implementation. A speaker at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s chef-farmer mixers held throughout the state, he is a recent alumnus of the Spence Farm Foundation’s Chef Camp, where chefs are provided resources to educate staff and customers about the significant potential of sustainable food systems. Joining nine internationally-recognized chefs, Allen represents the Peoria area at the foundation’s Harvest Feast and hosts regular dinners where guests can enjoy great food while learning about local ingredients, farmers and programs.
When the Flying Fish Festival committee sought a local chef to creatively rebrand the Illinois River’s invasive Asian carp into a fine dining experience, Allen rose to the challenge. Last year, he was nominated by the Certified Angus Beef brand as one of 50 chefs in the country to attend its annual Chef Summit. For all of these efforts, Allen and his team at Edge were honored by the Heart of Illinois Hospitality Association.
As an entrepreneur, chef, educator, mentor and advocate, Allen reaches citizens throughout the region as he helps build a local foodshed where they can promote local economic, environmental and social development through their purchases. iBi