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Bon Appétit at Goucher College kicked off November with a new tradition for the campus: Iron Chef, college style. Representatives from each of the four classes—freshmen through seniors—were tasked with creating a delicious meal in a limited time frame not only for a panel of discerning judges, but for the entire café… during the dinner rush. That meant cooking not just for three or four, but for hundreds. Adding a whole new element to the competition, this certainly left the student competitors an appreciation of what kitchen staffs in college dining halls do three times a day, every day!

In certain circles, some farmers are as famous as rock stars. Bon Appétit Farm to Fork partner Al Courchesne of Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, CA, is one of them. Renowned Berkeley, CA, restaurateur Alice Waters has been known to serve his O’Henry peaches, Rainier cherries, Goldensweet apricots, and Warren pears unadorned for dessert at Chez Panisse. To learn why, I organized a tour of Al’s farm along with a group of 50 faculty members, staff, students, and Bon Appétit Sous Chef Cheylin Hale from Mills College in Oakland, CA.

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Redlands in California’s San Bernardino Valley has a rich agricultural heritage, having once been one of the area’s largest producers of citrus crops. The Redlands Conservancy seeks to preserve both the agricultural land and its heritage – goals Bon Appétit is proud to support.

For a special fundraiser for the Seattle Art Museum on Friday, November 4, Bon Appétit’s TASTE Restaurant team worked with internationally renowned chef Mario Batali. Projected to raise $300,000 for the Seattle Art Museum, this extraordinary epicurean event featured a family-style dinner with Batali as well as a panel discussion among Batali; Thierry Rautureau, The Chef in the Hat™; and Steve Pool of KOMO News. Guests enjoyed signature Batali dinner platters, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts. TASTE’s menu was designed to bring Batali back to the Northwest, where he grew up, drawing ingredients from farms close by.

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On October 17, 2011, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Research Helene York delivered the keynote at the State of the Plate conference in Washington, DC, an event designed to bring meat producers and the culinary community together to engage in discussion about sustainable and humane meat production practices.

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The University of Pennsylvania celebrated this year’s National Food Day by kicking off its third annual Food Week: You Are What You Eat, sponsored by Bon Appétit at Penn Dining and supported by Fox Leadership. One of the major goals of Food Week each year is education — raising awareness about food issues in the hopes that awareness will ultimately lead to action.

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Second Harvest Food Bank runs a number of crucial programs that feed more than 240,000 people in Silicon Valley each month and as the recession continues, there is a higher need for funds. In the fall, Brocade in San Jose, CA, led a real team effort to raise money for Second Harvest.

  How local can you go — food wise? That was the challenge taken up by dozens of Bon Appétit Management Company chefs in 31 states for the seventh annual Eat Local Challenge on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. Some cooked a meal from 99.9% local ingredients, with salt as the only allowable non-local ingredient. A few went 100% local — meaning they even foraged for salt from within 150 miles of the café. Others focused on serving one excellent local meal. The reasons to source local ingredients are simple but important if you care about sustainability: it tastes better, is more nutritious, encourages biodiversity, preserves open space, and protects the environment, just to name a few. The companywide Farm to Fork program has helped Bon Appétit accounts learn about what’s available in their area throughout the year, and how to use […]

The University of Pennsylvania is now in the midst of its third annual Food Week, sponsored by Bon Appétit at Penn Dining. This annual celebration covers a variety of topics — from local food, to food justice, to nutrition — and is a collaborative effort among students, faculty, local community activists and farmers, and Fox Leadership at Penn. Here are some highlights of last year’s Food Week, including a Food Justice Banquet in the form of a four-course meal (catered by Bon Appétit of course) and a panel on agriculture featuring several of our Farm to Fork partners: