Blog: Local food

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Last fall, a group of student-activists and I had started coordinating Oberlin’s first-ever Food Week, to be held in March, to raise awareness about problems in our current food system and create a space for different activists to network and come to new solutions. To kick off the week, the students asked Bon Appétit to host a Local Foods Banquet. Let me repeat: they wanted to have a local foods banquet. In Ohio. In March. And we did it!

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Bon Appétit chefs are used to cooking for business and academic royalty: CEOs, Nobel Prize-winning professors, and university presidents dine on our food daily. But when the company was invited to feed actual royalty — His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, fresh from his son’s wedding — along with Bon Appétit CEO Fedele Bauccio, a dozen other stars of the sustainable food movement, and 750 journalists and other high-profile guests, the menu planning and food sourcing reached new heights of intensity.

The occasion was a landmark all-day conference on the “Future of Food,” hosted by the Washington Post at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

The “Future of Food” conference convened by the Washington Post at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, provided much… well, food for thought. However, the 30 speakers, who included Charles, Prince of Wales, and Bon Appétit CEO Fedele Bauccio, weren’t serving up snacky soundbites, but multi-course meals made up of whole, high-fiber ingredients.

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At the Second Annual North vs. South Champion Chef Competition hosted by Bon Appétit at Washington University in St. Louis last month, competitors from opposite sides of campus came out in honor of Bon Appétit’s Low Carbon Diet Day and competed in an Iron Chef-style competition with a focus on low carbon cooking. (Read more about what that entails here). Composed of BAMCO chefs and student sous chefs, each team had exactly 30 minutes to cook the most delicious, low carbon meal for a panel of expert judges, which included area chefs from Winslow’s Home and Eclipse Restaurant, as well as Ligaya Figueras of Sauce, St. Louis’ premier culinary magazine.

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The grilled-cheese sandwich has come a long way; long gone are the days of butter-soaked white bread embracing a slice of American cheese. Entire restaurants dedicated to this comfort food have spring up. Recently, the Bon Appétit Cisco team in San Jose joined the celebration by highlighting the melty goodness of a well-made artisan grilled cheese in the cafés.

By Sarah McGowan, Marketing Manager The new student-run Duke Campus Farm at Duke University in Durham, NC, broke ground in early 2011 with great promise. After a full year of planning, students began with a February work party and the following mission: “To educate the student body on sustainable farming practices, increase Duke’s sustainability, and reconnect our generation with its food.” Starting a farm is one thing, but making it self-sustaining is another. The farm was initiated by students, who organized a feasibility study with Duke Environmental Sciences and Policy Professor Charlotte Clark’s “Food and Energy” class. The students researched the economics of the project, including details like space requirements, cost of production and maintenance, and crop sales. That’s where Bon Appétit came in. The students worked with Resident District Manager Nate Peterson and Marketing Manager Sarah McGowan on a […]

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Something magical is happening at Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH. No matter how small or dark or drafty the location, the vegetables and herbs planted by Bon Appétit Sous Chef Chris Brunst just keep growing and growing, producing food for Dascomb Café.

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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.

What’s the shortest route to a reporter’s heart? Through her stomach of course! We believe the best way to deliver the fundamental Bon Appétit story, that we cook everything from scratch using fresh, often local, as-sustainable- as-possible ingredients, is to feed it to people — literally. To that end, we invited a select group of local media and VIPs and Diet for a Hot Planet author Anna Lappé to join us for an informal discussion over dinner cooked by one of our stellar teams. Anna is one of the leaders of the food movement — she was born into it, as the daughter of Frances Moore Lappé, whose 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet became a best-seller and the first handbook for eco-conscious eaters everywhere. Anna interviewed Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Director Helene York for her own book. […]