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Chef Jimmy Schmidt | FoodShed Exchange & Palm Springs  - Find. Eat. Drink.


FoodShed Exchange



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General Information

FoodShed Exchange


Morgan’s in the Desert

49499 Eisenhower Drive

La Quinta, CA 92253

T: 760.564.7600

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Jimmy Schmidt describes himself as a three-times James Beard award winning chef, restaurateur, food scientist and and co-founder of a collective called FoodShed Exchange. Schmidt made a name for himself at the Rattlesnake Club restaurants in Denver and Detroit before moving to the California desert to take over as executive chef of Morgan’s in the Desert in La Quinta. “We’re doing contemporary American food with really big flavors using the same ingredients in different ways. We’ll roast fennel and then do a fresh fennel salad but also make a fennel oil and fennel salt. Everything that goes in the dish has a very unique flavor structure that complements the dish.”

In 1992, Schmidt founded Chefs Collaborative, a chefs organization for fostering a sustainable food system and recently he co-founded FoodShed Exchange to create an online food marketplace.

Like a digital farmers market or eHarmony for chefs and farmers, FoodShed Exchange is where the two meet up online. “We bridge the communication between like-minded chefs and sustainable food suppliers,” explains Schmidt. “We sign up sustaining chefs and they can nominate their farmers. Then we share that information and allow them to place an order, confirm an order, get an order shipped, invoice, collect payment and pay the farmer all electronically.”

Salts from the FoodShed Exchange   

Photograph courtesy of Chef Jimmy Schmidt

Chefs in Michigan can buy from farmers in California with the assurance that they have been vetted by a respected industry pro. “You actually know that you’re getting your beef from Pete Eshelman in Indiana or Claudine up in Wyoming versus just saying, ‘Hey, I'm getting wagyu.’ You can see the genetics all the way through it. You can see that Mark Baker’s Mangalitsa pigs are coming out of Marion, Michigan. It really is a more vibrant connection to all the players in the market.”

Efficiency is also key since farmers and fishermen can send alerts when product becomes available and one chef can buy the chuck center while another takes the tenders. “We take out the middlemen and add value to both ends of the chain. The chef actually pays equal to or less than they’re paying now including the shipping and everything involved. The farmer gets more and it’s fresher and it supports the farmer and it supports the chef. It’s more systematic.”

So far some of the big name chefs involved are Wolfgang Puck, Tom Douglas, Traci des Jardins, Nancy Oakes, Mary Sue Milliken, Larry Forgione, Jonathan Waxman, Robert Del Grande, Stephan Pyles, and Michael Leviton.

“I say to the farmers, ‘Do you drive your kids to school?’ and they’re like ‘No, we put them on the bus.’ That’s exactly what we’re going to do with your stuff, put it on the bus, but on a different colored bus. They’re like ‘Cool, now I get it.’”

Visit chef Jimmy Schmidt at his restaurant Morgan’s in the Desert the La Quinta Resort & Club in Coachella Valley of California and check out his recommendations for eating and drinking in the Palm Springs area.

Chef Jimmy Schmidt

Check out his Palm Springs F.E.D. guide.