Case Western Fills Week with Sustainable Food Events

A flurry of events focused on sustainable, ethical, and local food took place recently on Case Western Reserve University’s Cleveland campus. The Bon Appétit team worked with Professor Narcisz Fejes and students from the Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship (SAGES) program to further a shared commitment to sustainability.

Class participants cutting chiles

The week opened with a tabling event in Tinkham Veale University Center staffed by multiple student groups devoted to hunger- and food-related issues. Décor featured fresh herbs and microgreens, and Bon Appétiters provided herb-focused snacks like tabbouleh with mint and parsley; Mediterranean kebabs with basil-wrapped artichoke, grape tomato, and kalamata olives drizzled with basil oil; and rosemary sea salt cookies. Farm to Fork partners Larry and Tina Klco of Rainbow Farms joined the students to meet guests and sell their produce, homemade candles, and special soaps.

Campus Executive Chef Vinnie Gaikens and Leutner Dining Hall Executive Chef Derek Ivancic led a cooking class featuring salsa verde, escabeche, and stewed black beans. They provided background on the classic Latin dishes, and covered important safety and culinary techniques. Later that same day, the Office for Sustainability organized a panel discussion on the results of running the Real Food Calculator for a month (preliminary results were exciting!), with Farm to Fork vendors Miller Livestock and Hartzler Dairy farmers among those participating. Guests enjoyed Miller Livestock’s pulled-pork chili topped with Hartzler Dairy’s shredded cheddar cheese in a bag lunch provided by the the Bon Appétit catering team.

Rainbow Farms Owner Larry Klco with Campus Executive Chef Vinnie Gaikens at their table in Tinkham Veale University Center

To cap off the week, a panel discussion on food literacy education — comprising food service consultants, farmers’ market advocates, and researchers — was accompanied by a plant-based buffet featured ancient grain salad, smoked tofu, and curried red lentils. SAGES Professor Fejes said the panelists, who included heart surgeon, author, and former Olympic rowing champion Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, “were blown away by the offerings. They kept asking if it was really our school food service company that provided the food.” He added that the Esselstyn family had built a food and wellness company that promoted a very strict plant-based diet. Caldwell and his wife “kept mentioning the whole time how lovely the lunch was!”

Submitted by Amanda Mass, Marketing Manager