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The Eat Local Challenge has become one of my favorite celebrations each year. While many of our usual holidays come with prescribed dishes, such as turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving, brisket and matzoh ball soup for Passover, and cookies topped with red and green sprinkles for Christmas, the Eat Local Challenge menu is always different — year to year, chef to chef, and region by region. The challenge is to create an whole menu where every ingredient (except for salt) comes from within 150 miles. While this is no easy task, I also find the challenge to be encouraging. Whether a chef or an eater, it encourages everyone to explore unusual flavors – found on our local farm and range lands and in our forests, lakes, and oceans, to learn about new producers, and tap into our inner creative spirit.

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By Cara Brechler, Marketing Manager Summer is over, and fall is here; goodbye peaches and zucchini, hello root vegetables and pumpkins! Pumpkins are an iconic part of the fall season, first appearing as jack-o’- lanterns at Halloween and then later as pie for Thanksgiving. The Market Café in San Jose, CA, wanted to mark the beginning of the season by featuring the pumpkin! Local pumpkins from a Farm to Fork vendor will be for sale for all employees. And true to Bon Appetit’s sustainable standards, people will have the opportunity to use the whole thing. There will be a pumpkin carving contest, where employees can show off their knife skills and potentially win a pizza party for 12! Votes will be cast in three categories, fright factor, laughter inducing, and creativity.  Winning masterpieces will be displayed prominently during lunch on Halloween. Pumpkin […]

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Terzo Piano in Chicago, IL, loves to support and celebrate local farmers every day — as well as in a now-annual event it calls Farm to Fork Fest, a special dinner focused on educating guests about where food comes from and why buying from local farms is important.

For the second dinner in our Eat With Bon Appétit series, we once again gathered at Mijita in San Francisco. This time, the guest of honor was Barry Estabrook, author of the new book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. The winner of a 2011 James Beard Award for his blog, Politics of the Plate, Barry has dug deep into the sterile, sandy soil of Florida’s tomato industry to reveal why most of the tomatoes Americans eat have no flavor and to illuminate the equally unsavory labor practices under which these rock-hard fruits are grown.

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Teams of highly trained, ultra-competitive Bon Appétit chefs have been making their way around the Eastern Seaboard competing in elite contests modeled after Chopped!, the hit Food Network television show. Chefs compete to create culinary masterpieces from a box of mystery ingredients in a short amount of time. Each ingredient in the box must be incorporated into the dish for that round, and given the often random combinations of items, that’s often no easy task! The “steaks” are so high, only the brave need apply.

Recently at Seattle University, Bon Appétit Management Company and Slow Food Seattle cosponsored a free showing of the new documentary Vanishing of the Bees, which was directed by George Langworthy and Maryam Heinen and narrated by actress Ellen Page. An astonishing 350 people attended the showing and the panel discussion with local beekeepers that followed.

Bon Appétit Management Company is pleased to announce that it has joined the campaign for Food Day, a nationwide celebration of real food and an effort to improve health, the environment, and America’s food system. It’s a grassroots mobilization to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way. On October 24, 2011, people will gather at events big and small and from coast to coast in homes, schools, colleges, churches, city halls, farmers markets, supermarkets, and elsewhere to both learn and advocate.

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Not all kids want to be firefighters or astronauts when they grow up. Some want to be chefs — or so a group of students at Grout Elementary School in southeast Portland, OR, told Bon Appétit Executive Chef Mark Harris when he spent Career Day with them.

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On Sunday, July 10, join the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) and dozens of Bay Area chefs and food luminaries, including Bon Appétit’s Oracle – Redwood Shores Executive Chef, Robbie Lewis, for cooking demonstrations and seasonal tastes at the first Summer Celebration. The event will be held in the beautiful,  historic San Francisco Ferry Building from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with more than 60 local chefs, businesses, and sustainable farmers providing tasty treats and drinks for guests to enjoy to raise money for CUESA. Bay Area locals might only know CUESA as the hosts of the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. In truth, CUESA provides much more as part of its educational mission, including free cooking demonstrations, low-cost kitchen skill-building classes, the new Schoolyard to Market program, and scholarships that help sustainable farmers become leaders in their […]

Executive Chef David Anderson demonstrates how to separate the ham and loin in his hog butchery demo Bon Appétit Executive Chef David Anderson from the Stanford Graduate School of Business believes that an animal’s life is worth more than two pork tenderloins. After the recent Northern California Chefs’ Exchange focusing on butchery at Cisco – San Jose, in San Jose, CA, he had this to say about how we use animals in our cooking: