Bon Appétiters near and far know that our Eat Local Challenge, held each September, represents the most special day of the year for both of our teams and our guests.
On September 21st, we celebrated our 17th annual Eat Local Challenge, and after getting back to basics in 2020, we asked our teams to create menus that embraced this year’s theme of “limited miles, unlimited flavors,” and in true Bon Appétit fashion, they did not disappoint! Drawing on their extensive relationships with Farm to Fork vendors in their areas, our chefs sourced a diverse array of ingredients from farmers, fishers, and makers, crafting 100% local (with the exception of salt) meals for their guests. From the San Francisco Bay Area to coastal Rhode Island, teams put their own unique spin this year’s Eat Local Challenge, proving that we CAN eat locally. Read on to learn about how Bon Appétit teams and their guests celebrated Eat Local Challenge this year!
Roger Williams University: In addition to entrées like grilled Block Island swordfish and eggplant roulades, the Roger Williams community was treated to a smorgasbord of Rhode Island and New England delicacies including a charcuterie board and a raw bar featuring littleneck clams, oysters, scallop ceviche, lobster tails, and squid salad sourced fisherfolk based in Point Judith, Narragansett Bay, Georges Bank, and the Gulf of Maine.
Wesleyan University: The Bon Appétit at Wesleyan team thoroughly embraced the spirit of Eat Local Challenge with an outdoor bonanza at Andrus Field, in the middle of campus. Guests entered a meal tent where they were greeted with an array of all-local dishes made with ingredients from Red’s Best Seafood, Horse Listeners Orchard, and Long Lane Farm, Wesleyan’s on-campus, student-run farm.
Emerson College: Alongside a vegetable-forward menu with produce from stalwart Farm to Fork vendor Horse Listeners Orchard, the Emerson team handed out vegetable growing kits, replete with pots, soil, and seeds.
Emmanuel College: The Emmanuel College team wowed students with carrot tagliatelle and pork meatballs as well as a display of fresh local vegetables.
Gordon College: A diverse array of ingredients from farmers and makers in and around the Cape Ann, Massachusetts area were on full display during Gordon’s Eat Local Challenge meal. Highlights included an all-local line up that even featured salt from Cape Ann Sea Salt Co, an ever-elusive local ingredient in most of the country.
Butler University: The team at Butler University rose to this year’s Eat Local Challenge with a menu that featured 15 Farm to Fork partners. In addition to dishes like maple sugar rubbed tofu with garlic roasted summer squash, the team also organized a photo booth and meet and greet with Tim Dorsey, Farm Manager of the CUE (Center for Urban Ecology) Farm at Butler.
Carleton College: Bon Appétit at Carleton Director of Operations Eric Rasmussen and Board Manager Kelly Rapp got students and staff in the Eat Local Challenge spirit with an afternoon-long educational tabling event about the history and importance of eating locally. The team served up local dishes that highlighted end-of-summer Minnesota favorites like baked local apples, pizzas (including a goat cheese and roasted root vegetable number), and a tossed gazpacho salad.
A Medical Technology Company: At a medical tech company in the Twin Cities, the Bon Appétit team showcased their partnership with local farms by featuring a cider-braised pork shoulder with butternut squash purée and chili braised collard greens.
Uber Mission Bay: The Bon Appétit at Uber Mission Bay team went all out for Eat Local Challenge, extending the spirit of the event beyond the walls of their café. The team held a drawing for tickets to a special Eat Local Challenge Chef’s Table, a curated seven-course food and (non-alcoholic) wine pairing experience to 12 lucky Uber employees. The meal featured sparkling rosé from Surely Wines paired with canapés featuring Uber rooftop garden Swiss chard, Suntracker Farm potatoes, and Full Belly Farm figs. Standouts from the main course included Hog Island Oysters, house-made Straus Family Creamery ricotta, uni with caviar, and braised Flannery Beef short rib. “I felt really lucky to have been able to attend the Eat Local Challenge, Chef’s Table Experience today,” said Charlotte Chen. “It really opened my eyes to the potential of cuisine we can make from all locally sourced ingredients.”
La Verne University: Executive Chef Justin Alarcon and the team at the University of La Verne celebrated their local Farm to Fork vendors with a festive fennel and orange segment salad with fronds, fennel
pollen, and citrus fennel vinaigrette. The delectably health-conscious dish featured Babes Farm fennel, black Tuscan kale, Easter egg radishes, baby rainbow carrots, Polito Family Farms’ oranges and grapefruit; J. Marchini Farms’ white castelfranco radicchio, Santa Barbara olive oil, and Drake Family Farms goat cheese.
Claremont McKenna College: With a stunning Eat Local Challenge photo booth featuring ingredients from five Farm to Fork partners as well as a margarita pizza that featured fresh tomatoes from VR Farms, the Claremont McKenna team impressed students with both ambiance and cuisine.
Whitman College: The Bon Appétit at Whitman team brought Eat Local Challenge to Cleveland Commons with an all-local grilled cheese made with Walla Walla bread company sourdough, Locati Farms caramelized onions, and Walla Walla Cheese Company white cheddar. On the side, local fries were topped with house-made fermented ketchup made from Whitman Organic Garden tomatoes.
Snap Inc: Guests at Snap Inc. got to try ingredients from a bevy of Farm to Fork partners this year. The Bon Appétit at Snap team served a Babe Farms Salad, which featured Babe Farms shaved brussels sprouts, castelfranco radicchio, fennel, red romaine lettuce, baby carrots, local chicken breast, and Di Stefano burrata.
Schools First Credit Union: The brand new team at Schools First Credit Union celebrated their first Eat Local Challenge with a rockin’ chicken caprese salad that featured Mary’s chicken, Valdivia Farms tomatoes, and Di Stefano’s mozzarella cheese.
Biola: Executive Chef Peter Alfaro and the Biola University team impressed guests with an inventive recipe featuring bagel crisps topped with ingredients from nine Farm to Fork vendors including sautéed and pickled vegetables and cheeses.
A Southern California Creative Studio: The Bon Appétit team at a creative studio in sunny southern California provided guests with a scrumptious all-local take on breakfast: a frittata with wild mushrooms and goat cheese with a pea greens and radish salad on the side.
A San Mateo Video Game Company: Bon Appétiters at a video game company in San Mateo offered steak two ways, featuring a tri tip from Marin Sun Farms and cauliflower steak from Salad Savoy Farm.
Emory University: Among Bon Appétit at Emory’s many delectable dishes for this year’s Eat Local challenge were two special southern comfort dishes: barbecue smoked beef with kale and sweet potato mash and Thomasville Tomme cheese grits with sautéed Georgia white shrimp.
LC Kitchen: LC Kitchen in Plano, Texas took this year’s theme of limited miles, unlimited flavors and ran with it. Utilizing ingredients from Empire Baking Company, Oak Farms, Reeves Family Farm, Fredericksburg Peach Company, Young’s Greenhouse, and their very own LC Kitchen Chef’s Garden, they concocted a paneer burger. Yum!