In 2005 Bon Appétit issued an Eat Local Challenge to our chefs - hold an event with a meal made completely from local ingredients. Everything used in the preparation of the food must come from within a 150-mile radius of the café, with the only exception of salt. That means to serve bread, the wheat, yeast, sugar, everything had to be locally grown. Our chefs were able to create amazing, diverse meals using ingredients from their food sheds and an annual tradition was born.
The now-yearly event illustrates to our guests both the great taste of local foods and the precarious state of our food supply. Materials are available outlining the loss of biodiversity in the US with local examples. Solutions are presented as well, including information on what guests can do to support local agriculture and stop the loss of our local food supply. Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork program is highlighted, along with suggestions to shop at farmers markets, support local businesses, etc.
Guest response has been wonderful! Although we serve locally purchased food every day in our cafés, this extreme example of 100% local ingredients has started lively conversations amongst students, faculty and our staff.