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By Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation   “I love a good competition!” With these words, Cristin Ashmankas entered herself into a Bon Appétit Sustainable Cooking Challenge at Lesley University, where she is an assistant professor in the earth science, natural sciences, and mathematics department. Cristin grew up in a family of great cooks and says she is known among her friends (her “test subjects”) for her culinary experiments and what has become known as “Cristin’s secret ingredient.” The day of the event, Cristin arrived wearing a cupcake-dappled apron and a big grin. Her competitor was Diego Mejia, a Bon Appétit cook at Lesley University. Born in México, Diego spent most of his childhood eating his mother’s savory dishes of tortillas and beans, tomatillo and mole sauces. After arriving in the U.S., he started working for […]

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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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Industrial-scale agriculture often exacts a steep human cost. That was one of the lessons I learned last week from farmer Bob Knight and farmworker Marco Franco of the Inland Orange Conservancy, Bon Appétit at the University of Redland’s first Farm to Fork partner. They were the guest speakers at one of our Stories from the Fields events, held at the University Club.

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By Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation In this video, Katherine Ecker gives me a tour of Legacy Manor Farm, where animals don’t just roam the pasture, they roam the driveway, the house…and anywhere they want! One hen insists on laying her eggs in the back of Katherine’s car, and the Eckers have woken up to find a horse standing on their front porch. As part of our Farm to Fork program begun in 1999, Bon Appétit Management Company purchases fresh, seasonal produce from small, local farmers around the country. We recently celebrated the milestone of 1,000 such suppliers. As a Fellow for Bon Appétit, I get to travel to these different farms and learn about the joys and challenges farmers today face — and share their stories.

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By Helene York, Director, Strategic Initiatives Above: Grilled radicchio, three kinds of local potatoes, and spigarelli broccoli. It’s a rare Saturday when I get my bones out of bed at 5:45 a.m. or anything close to that. But last weekend was Bon Appétit's semi-annual Northern California Chefs Exchange, where 40 to 50 really talented chefs get together to learn, laugh, and do what they do best: cook great food from scratch. The aromatic, house-made chai at Cisco Systems in San Jose helped start the morning off nicely. Photo by Cara Brechle Then, Santa Clara University Chef David Anderson (above) gave a terrific tutorial on how to carve a 200-pound pig. He had sourced the pig from a local farm, Douglas Ranch outside of Hollister, CA, and was determined to let everyone know that only 2 pounds – just 1 percent […]

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The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is the only banquet I’ve ever attended where I was served just rice and water. The banquet, held March 7 at Seattle University, makes the inequalities of our world vividly clear in order to raise awareness about the experience of hunger and get people thinking and talking about how to take action to fight poverty. I used it as a jumping off point to also talk about the injustices experienced by female farm workers.

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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By Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation   On Tuesday at Gallaudet University, BAMCO Executive Chef Jay Keller stood behind a beautiful spread of ingredients including Pennsylvania purple potatoes, Maryland oyster mushrooms, and tofu from across the street (more photos here). He had just 30 minutes to create a meal from ingredients chosen by the students from this bounty, as part of the East Coast tour of the Sustainable Food Challenge. After a bit of debate (chicken or salmon?), they finally settled on wild-caught Alaskan salmon and chicken produced without the routine use of antibiotics, as well as local oyster mushrooms, Swiss chard, and apples. As Jay went to work, the students, BAMCO staff, and I got to talking. Some highlights from our conversation: “I’ve heard that only half of the meat in the café is […]