While Bon Appétit makes a big fuss on Low Carbon Diet Day to call our diners’ attention to the five foundations of a planet-friendlier diet, our chefs practice these principles every day. Whether it’s Monday or Wednesday, patrons can always find plenty of locally sourced, vegetarian options or dishes with meat such as chicken and pork, which come from lower methane-emitting animals than cows.
To find out how much our guests have taken these principles to heart — er, stomach — we held a Low Carbon Diet Every Day Facebook Contest. The special Facebook app asked people to submit a picture via Facebook of a low carbon meal they enjoyed at one of our cafés along with a description of what made it a good choice environmentally. After a month, we held a random drawing from among the accurate entries — and no, the photo of a hamburger with the comment “It’s low carbon because that cow is no longer emitting methane” didn’t qualify.
The winning entry was submitted by Sharon Crost, who works in the Integrated Marketing Communications department for Hitachi Data Systems in Sunnyvale, CA. Sharon’s description of her salad shows she’s been paying close attention: she wrote that “it featured mostly raw ingredients, thus no energy was used for cooking,” adding that Hitachi’s café “uses organic ingredients whenever available and thus petroleum fertilizers are reduced.” She noted that she selected mostly local vegetables in season and “thus no carbon is used for transport from the Southern hemisphere.” By choosing only vegan ingredients, she was “eating lower on the food chain, reducing production costs of animal products.” And she concluded by saying that “this salad tasted GREAT. By eating everything I don’t waste food and I don’t need to store things in a fridge.”
We couldn’t have asked for a better answer! For her prize, Sharon got her choice of a private dinner or cooking lessons from Executive Chef Shelita Acosta or a gift certificate to a local restaurant committed to farm-to-table sourcing. Although tempted by the cooking lessons, she ended up not being able to resist the chance to eat for the first time at the famed, Michelin starred locavore restaurant Manresa in Los Gatos, which has its own farm.
Upon receiving her $400 gift certificate and surprise bonus gift of two cookbooks, Lucid Food by Louisa Shafia and Weeknight Fresh and Fast by Kristine Kidd Sharon wrote, ”WOW!!!….I can’t wait to share the books (as well as the healthy meals from these recipes) with my family and friends. And of course I am totally looking forward to Manresa! I hope to do a farm tour and meal all at the same time. Thanks again, [Bon Appétit] for your focus on low carbon eating and your overall sustainable approach. I’m certainly proud to be a patron of the café!” And we’re even prouder to have smart, conscientious eaters like Sharon who appreciate our principles.