With San Francisco hosting the annual Global Climate Action Summit in mid-September, many Bay Area nonprofits and for-profits working to address climate change rallied to host affiliate events before and after the main conference that would educate and spark action. A special conference for food service professionals, “Climate Friendly Cuisine: Food Service Guidance and Best Practices for a Healthy Planet,” was one of those unique events.
Bon Appétit Management Company was proud to team up with Acterra, a nonprofit based in Palo Alto that brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet; the Bay Area Air Quality Management District; and LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network on the Internet (and a Bon Appétit client), to plan and host the one-day conference, which was held at LinkedIn’s San Francisco offices. In 2016 Bon Appétit was honored with the Acterra Award for Sustainability, Acterra’s highest award, which recognizes businesses whose programs achieve significant triple bottom-line benefits (people, planet, profit) and advance the state of sustainability in a given industry or across industry sectors; LinkedIn received the Acterra Award for Sustainable Built Environment in 2018.
The Climate Friendly Cuisine conference drew about 150 representatives from restaurants, caterers, hospitals, educational institutions, corporate campuses, entertainment venues, and other institutions interested in learning about the importance and profitability of sustainable and climate friendly food service practices.
Bon Appétit chef-partner and well-known San Francisco restaurant pioneer Traci Des Jardins kicked off the conference with a passionate speech about how sustainability should be on every restaurant’s menu — and how obsessed she is these days with food waste. Director of Communications Bonnie Powell moderated the panel Meet the Plant-Forward Diet, which included speakers from Kaiser Permanente, the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition/Green Monday, The Culinary Institute of America, and Miyoko’s Kitchen (“Plant-forward” is defined as a diet that emphasizes and celebrates, but is not limited to, plant-based foods). For the panel discussion “Chew-sing” the Right Ingredients: How to Source Food Sustainably, Bon Appétit Waste Programs Manager Claire Cummings went over Bon Appétit’s Low Carbon Lifestyle Commitments and offered a quick overview of the new On Track waste tracking program. And for the panel titled The End of Food Waste, moderated by LinkedIn’s Bay Area Food and Beverage Program Manager for Silicon Valley Anna Bohbot, Bon Appétit Executive Chef of Concessions at AT&T Park Toussaint Potter gave an overview of waste-prevention efforts at the ballpark, from cooking from scratch to the elimination of aluminum foil on hotdogs and burgers.
Given the focus of the event, a wholly plantbased menu was a given, and Senior Events and Catering Manager Andrea Valenzuela and Events and Catering Coordinator Emily Claus made sure that it was accompanied by reusable china and utensils. Executive Pastry Chef Vincent Attali and Lead Pastry Cook Simon Brown made blueberry, honey, and molasses muffins and sweet potato, raisin, and olive oil bread for the breakfast snack. Café Chef Ryan Wilson, Senior Sous Chef Max Ford, and Sous Chef Barry Shinto came up with a colorful, delicious, and very satisfying buffet that no one realized was vegan — especially those who had missed the menu description of the jackfruit and white bean cassoulet and were staring in confusion at what looked like pulled pork, but they knew to be plant-based!
The lunch really showed off the standards that Bon Appétit representatives were talking about at the conference, and all the attendees could be seen and heard oohing and aahing over their vibrant plates — and sharing them on social media with the hashtag #greencuisine.