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To any Gallaudet University students walking into the Bon Appétit café on Tuesday Sept. 27, it seemed like a transformation had occurred. The normally wood-colored tables were decked out in blue and red checkered picnic-style cloth, and the entire café staff had donned blue jeans and farmers hats. It was Eat Local Challenge Day, and the point was to celebrate local, farm-fresh food. Students scattered themselves at different stations throughout the café in honor of the event. One group hosted a Taste Test, challenging their peers to guess which tomato was local (picked fresh that day from the Gallaudet Community Garden) and which was conventional (from California). Green Gallaudet, the on-campus environmental group, spoke with passers-by about the impacts our food choices have on the environment (did you know that by eating one less hamburger a week, you can significantly […]

I eagerly returned for this summer’s eighth annual trip with other Bon Appétit staff to visit and dine with Shepherd’s Grain farmers in Washington State. On our excursion to Eastern Washington, Bon Appétit chefs, managers, and I visited the Spokane Hutterian Brethren Colony in Reardan, WA, where the Grosses, Hofers, and Walters uphold their collective 460-plus-year family tradition in farming, growing crops on 9,000 acres and living a self-sufficient lifestyle. I love this trip because – like many conscientious eaters today – I like to know where my food comes from. It’s a rare treat to be among 75 farmers and chefs who put the meaning of their work so eloquently into words.

Mike Tabor, an activist-turned farmer, first realized the problems with the quality of food in our public school systems about 20 years ago. He has been working on farm to cafeteria legislation ever since, and started his own organic farm in Needmore, PA. He sells to Bon Appétit through our Farm to Fork Program.

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Left to right: Gallaudet gardeners Carolina Fojo, Marcy Knox, Nicholas Palazzo III, Ryne Worsham, Davina Kwong, Jon Terpak Eight months ago the Gallaudet Community Garden was nothing but an abandoned volleyball court filled with sand. Today, thanks to the efforts of students and Bon Appétit — with the help of the football team — it’s a thriving garden of fourteen 20-foot-long beds that just saw its first-ever harvest! “It was an exciting day for everybody,” reports Davina Kwong, Bon Appétit General Manager at Gallaudet University, who helped spearhead the garden’s creation. “Employees from the café came out to help with the harvest, pick the fresh vegetables, and dream up ways to show them off in the café the next day.” Right: Bon Appétit café employee Tanisha Bryant picks beets from the garden. Golden wax garden beans, cucumbers, and beautiful yellow, […]

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The grilled-cheese sandwich has come a long way; long gone are the days of butter-soaked white bread embracing a slice of American cheese. Entire restaurants dedicated to this comfort food have spring up. Recently, the Bon Appétit Cisco team in San Jose joined the celebration by highlighting the melty goodness of a well-made artisan grilled cheese in the cafés.

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Ranchers who raise their meat responsibly and humanely are increasingly hoping that small-scale mobile slaughterhouse units — essentially abattoirs on wheels — can help them stay in business. Interested Colorado College students, Bon Appétit staff, and managers recently had the opportunity to attend a live slaughter demonstration by Ranch Foods Direct at Venetucci Farm.

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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.

In this new Bravo Beat series for the Bon Appétit blog, we’ll spotlight some of our star staff, starting with Hamidou Cisse, Bon Appétit sous chef at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA. Born in Dakar, Senegal, the soft-spoken, genial Hamidou came to the United States in 1992 from Germany.

By Sarah McGowan, Marketing Manager The new student-run Duke Campus Farm at Duke University in Durham, NC, broke ground in early 2011 with great promise. After a full year of planning, students began with a February work party and the following mission: “To educate the student body on sustainable farming practices, increase Duke’s sustainability, and reconnect our generation with its food.” Starting a farm is one thing, but making it self-sustaining is another. The farm was initiated by students, who organized a feasibility study with Duke Environmental Sciences and Policy Professor Charlotte Clark’s “Food and Energy” class. The students researched the economics of the project, including details like space requirements, cost of production and maintenance, and crop sales. That’s where Bon Appétit came in. The students worked with Resident District Manager Nate Peterson and Marketing Manager Sarah McGowan on a […]