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Bon Appétiters love what they do — and so opening the kitchen doors for behind-the-scenes tours is one of their favorite activities. On a weekday afternoon not long ago, several Northern California teams shared their passion with a group of enthusiastic middle school kids.

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On Tuesday, September 24, all of our 500-plus cafés will offer a 100% local meal — everything from oils to grains to spices and sweeteners must be sourced from within 150 miles. The only foreigner allowed is salt. Some locations get a little loco and offer a 100% local menu — multiple all-local dishes!

Bon Appétit General Manager Katie McKenna opened the doors to the Carleton East dining hall, where local middle school students embarked on a from-scratch pizza adventure taught by Sous Chef Gibson Price. The class included a fair amount of dough throwing (the approved kind) but also more serious topics, including tours of the full-scale industrial kitchen, a visit to the bakers (who offered delicious granola bars), and fruitful conversations about college life.

This is the third post in a series about Piper’s Epic Spring Semester Road Trip: Read #1, Setting Out on a Biofueled Road Trip through BAMCO Territory; #2 Veggie Oil-Fueled Adventures in Colorado; or about my traveling companion – my vegetable oil car Charlene.

Kevin and I, standing by Oberlin’s Real Food Campus Committment for 40%

The Art Institute of Chicago hosts hundreds of high-profile events throughout the year, but one of the hottest tickets this spring was the inaugural Chef ’s Playground benefit for the Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC).

Bon Appétit may talk about environmental stewardship, but wouldn’t you rather hear it from the Dalai Lama? Participants at a multi-venue Environmental Summit — including the University of Portland in Portland, OR—got to do just that.

Bon Appétit Management Company doesn’t generally cater outside the campuses where we have kitchens. But when CEO Fedele Bauccio was invited to give the keynote address at a very special awards ceremony held by the Association for Corporate Growth – Silicon Valley chapter (ACG-SV) at San Jose’s Computer Science History Museum, we couldn’t possibly let the 300 Silicon Valley CEOs and executives who were attending (many of them Bon Appétit clients) dine on anyone else’s food.

One of the best parts about breaking bread together as a community is the chance to sit down and enjoy not just the exchange of tastes, but ideas. America’s fast food habits, which mostly involve people eating alone on the run, don’t allow that to happen. So it was a wonderful treat to have Eric Schlosser, the journalist who wrote the game-changing book Fast Food Nation—the 2001 book that exposed the unsustainable food safety, labor, and animal welfare issues of the fast food industry—visit University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, for a talk, several farm tours, and a convivial meal.

Food can be a terrific vehicle to use for educating people about complex topics, and luckily, I work for a company that has an army of chefs who enjoy just this kind of challenge. Bon Appétit was the first food service company to address food’s role in climate change, and every year around Earth Day, our chefs change their menus and explain to their diners at corporations, colleges and universities, and museums in 32 states how their every day food choices affect our planet. For Earth Day today, we’re doing something a little different. Our chefs are standing in front of guests at a cooking demonstration table, making almond-milk-fruit smoothies, cheeseless pizzas, and edamame burgers with carrot peel toppings. They’re talking about how climate change isn’t just this storm gathering way down the road, it’s here and it’s affecting some of our favorite foods.