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Bon Appétit at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has been steadily increasing its purchases from local farmers ever since taking over the Penn account in 2009. But the busy chefs don’t always have the opportunity to venture outside of their kitchens and visit the producers. To provide chefs with a unique farmers’ perspective, as well as inspiration to purchase locally, Hill House Executive Chef Valerie McHugh has begun taking members of the Penn team on visits to local farms during school breaks.

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At Bon Appétit, we’ve let the powerful union of simplicity, taste, and nutrition guide our menus for a long time. So we were pleased to see that yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture replaced its complicated Food Guide Pyramid with a new, elegantly simple “My Plate” graphic. This new icon boils down what many consumers felt were complicated scientific messages into a clear snapshot of what your dinner plate should look like for good nutrition: more than half your plate should be filled with vegetables and fruit, and the other half with grains (mostly whole) and protein.

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Holly Winslow, resident district manager of University of San Francisco, and Crystal Chun Wong, general manager at Kirkland and Ellis in San Francisco, were glad to play hosted a group of 20 Girl Scouts from three different troops for a pizza party at USF. They didn’t even have to be “badgered” into it.The scouts were each in the process of completing the Girl Scout Gold Award on Food and Local Farming. The visit to Bon Appétit was part of the “research and personal enrichment” portion of the requirements.

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Executive Chef Guido Lambelet at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, has been experimenting with Native American recipes and some special ingredients.

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Thanks to the popularity of last year’s Chopped Competition, the challenge made a repeat performance at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. Just like in the popular Food Network show, Bon Appétit’s Chopped contestants show off their creativity and cooking skills under the pressure of a ticking clock. The competition is made up of three segments – appetizer, entrée, and dessert. After each session, two teams are “chopped” from the competition.

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Though Passover is the most observed holiday on Jewish calendars, finding kosher-for-Passover programs on college campuses is not so easy — unless you’re a Penn student. Falk Dining Commons at Steinhardt Hall at the University of Pennsylvania is the premier kosher dining facility in Philadelphia, and the only university facility in the country that does “full-service” Passover for the entire eight days.

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The students at Washington University in St. Louis have never had a sweeter Valentine’s Day.
Famous pastry chef Jim Dodge, Bon Appétit’s director of culinary programs, visited Wash U for two very special Valentine’s Day collaborations with the university’s pastry chef Starr Murphy.

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The epic blizzard of 2011 will not be forgotten anytime soon in at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. A night of record snowfall meant Operations Manager Janice Moore spent a harrowing hour driving just eight blocks to work the next morning, only to find the front entrance completely blocked.

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