Posts by

Claire Cummings

In 2010 the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians came together to set up the Salmon Marketing Program. The program buys fish caught by tribal members on tribal land, pays the fishermen a sustainable living wage, processes the fish at a facility owned and operated by the community, and then distributes the products itself to ensure the integrity of the process. The program has expanded to new markets — and Bon Appétit is proud to be a customer.

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Today the Food Recovery Network, a student run organization dedicated to recovering leftover food from college campuses to give to those in need, will be rolling out the newest resource for their organizing toolkit: A Guide to Food Recovery for Chefs and Managers (PDF). Bon Appétit Management Company is proud to have partnered with FRN to create this resource, which is specifically designed to help campus dining services at schools around the country — not just Bon Appétit ones — work with students to launch food recovery programs.

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The Bon Appétit Fellows are gearing up for the start of the school year and thanks to our partnership with the Food Recovery Network (FRN) we have some exciting new programs to look forward to.

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When our chefs at Reed and Lewis & Clark Colleges first sat down with Ava Mikolavich from Urban Gleaners to discuss a food recovery program they were skeptical of how much food they could actually donate. Yet since April, the two cafés have donated a total of more than 5,000 pounds of food!

Still, as Dani Turk from the hunger relief organization Food Life Line once said, “Though it may seem like nothing, one piece of lasagna is still a dinner for a person in need.” So in April, the two schools began donating leftover food that would otherwise go to waste to Urban Gleaners.

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If college students are going to cook, they need it to be simple, affordable, and efficient. And Bon Appétit’s Executive Sous Chef at Reed College, Jenny Nguyen, came up with a great idea for a cooking class that would achieve just that — with a healthful and easy twist on making top ramen, the quintessential college student’s meal.

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Anyone with a sweet tooth that walks into the University of San Francisco’s Market Café is immediately drawn to the display of colorful little desserts at the bakery station. Some call it the dessert bar and others refer to it as the sweet shop, but most know it as Simone’s Patisserie.

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In the United States, 40% of food goes uneaten. Just so we’re clear, that’s nearly half. Yet one in every six Americans lacks a secure supply of food. Waste is happening at every part of the supply chain: thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables are being left in the fields to rot, blemished produce are being tossed at our supermarkets, restaurants are dumping perfectly good leftovers, and consumers are letting food waste away in their refrigerators. Clearly, we have a problem.

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I knew I had to visit Pure Country Pork after learning it was the first sustainable hog operation in the United States to be certified by Food Alliance under its stricter guidelines of no farrowing crates or gestation stalls. Plus, since Bon Appétit committed last year to phasing out all pork raised using gestation crates by 2015, I knew I needed to talk to some experts to better understand the significance of this commitment.

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I had a wonderful time in sunny California where I visited Whittier College in honor of Food Day, an annual nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. My visit kicked off with a luncheon with landscape architect Glen Dake. Glen gave a presentation on how to build landscapes that volunteers both love and are capable of managing. The room was full of students from Whittier’s Urban Agriculture Club that were interested in learning techniques to get volunteers engaged with gardening. The presentation covered everything from how to make weeding assignments glamorous, to what plants can survive without much effort.

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Students at the University of Redlands spend a week each semester to host fun activities that raise environmental awareness and inspire action on campus. The most recent Green Week coincided with Food Day so Bon Appétit was invited to co-host an event with a coalition of environmental organizations that focused on waste and the food system. Students and staff strung 1,050 disposable to-go boxes around Hunsaker Plaza to show people how much ends up in the landfill every day on campus and the students asked people to pledge to only use to-go boxes when actually on the go.

The idea for the event was conceived when students learned that on average 5,250 disposable to-go boxes end up in the landfill each week and approximately $25,000 is spent on those boxes each semester!

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