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In 2014, Vincent Gaikens went looking for a change. After a decade and a half of working for another large food service company, he felt a longing to develop relationships with local farmers and showcase seasonal ingredients from his home state of Ohio.   After a brief job search, Vincent found a match with Bon Appétit at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). “As soon as I started, I was enamored,” says Vincent. “I remember the first delivery I got from a farmer. I shook his hand and felt this connection – like he was transferring responsibility to me through this handshake.”   As the Campus Executive Chef at CWRU and regional Forager in Bon Appétit’s Southeast-Midwest region, Vincent embraced Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork commitment from the very beginning of his time with the company. He began reaching out to potential […]

The Bon Appétit at Roger Williams team has built a leading local sourcing program, bringing the best of the state’s cornucopia of seafood, produce, and animal proteins to campus. Over the past 18 years, the team, led by General Manager James Gubata and Culinary Director Jonathan Cambra, has worked closely with a tight-knit group of Farm to Fork vendors, learning some valuable lessons along the way. 

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I can still remember wandering through a sea of broad-leafed bibb, bitter frisée, and tangy watercress greens at Stone Creek Hydroponics in Hartwell, Georgia during my first month traveling as a Bon Appétit Fellow. Not long after the greenhouse tour concluded, I was invited to stay for dinner with the Unruh family and I found myself in the kitchen with Zach and Janelle (and their five sons) chatting about farming, community living, and hearing how neighbors rallied around their farm during the pandemic.  

This year, we’re unpacking the history of Juneteenth and sharing how Bon Appétit teams across the country are commemorating the holiday. Taking inspiration from the wisdom of our previous Juneteenth partner CheFarmer Matthew Raiford, we are using this day as an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made — and that continue to be made — in the struggle to dismantle the structures of racism and white supremacy. As Raiford astutely puts it, “freedom ain’t free”. 

The past two years as Bon Appétit’s West Coast Fellow have been filled with meaningful connections, growth, and invaluable knowledge about our current food system. Visiting accounts just under 40 times in four semesters, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from a diverse range of people to explore the most pressing issues of the food industry.  

Bon Appétit’s operators and chefs, as well as our growers, processors, students, and professors with whom we work have given me insight into a range of perspectives and solutions to a sustainable food future. Here are some insights I’ve gained in my time as a Fellow…

This LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we at Bon Appétit Management Company are thrilled to be partnering with Timothy Pakron of Mississippi Vegan. Timothy is a food blogger, photographer, cookbook author, and avid gardener who celebrates his identity as a vegan and a proud gay man, born and raised in the American South.

After five semesters as the Midwest Fellow, I’ve had countless opportunities to engage with food systems in creative ways. These experiences have instilled a deeper understanding of the realities of food service and sustainability at large. This broadened perspective has added nuance to my food systems experience, and kept me continually inspired by passionate students, chefs, and farmers that I’ve had the pleasure to work with and learn from.  

We had a chance to chat with Timothy Pakron, cookbook author of Mississippi Vegan, as well as a writer, photographer, and gardener who shares his love of Southern food through his perspective as a vegan home cook. We discuss his path to create Mississippi Vegan (the blog) and eventually the cookbook, his approach to developing accessible recipes, and celebrate what it means to be gay and vegan in the South.