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[lofo List] Serving Up The Triple Bottom Line: Bon Appetit Management Company Takes On Largest Ever 100% Eat Local Event
Serving Up The Triple Bottom Line: Bon Appetit Management Company
Takes On Largest Ever 100% Eat Local Event
Nationwide Showcase of local flavors cuts food costs, enchants
diners, and benefits farmers.
(CSRwire) PALO ALTO, CA. - September 9, 2008 - If you want local
food, sometimes you have to go get it yourself. That's what five
chefs from Bon Appetit Management Company will do to prepare for the
company's fourth annual and largest ever Eat Local Challenge on
September 30. Before most chefs have even put in their morning
orders, Kimberly Triplett, Bill Griffin, Donna Dhue Wilkins, Michael
Levins, and Ty Paup from Bon Appetit at Goucher College and
Gallaudet University will see the sun rise over Chesapeake Bay as
they gather the fat oysters for which the region is known. By mid-
morning the fishing will be done, but for these chefs, the day is
just beginning as they return to their kitchens to prepare
traditional oyster po' boys, rich, velvety oyster stew, and savory
oyster stuffing to go with roasted local chickens. Why go to such
lengths to obtain local food? On Eat Local Challenge Day, every chef
in the company’s 400 restaurants and cafes around the country is
tasked with creating a 100% local meal.
In Austin, the regional specialty for the day may be grass-fed beef
fajitas, or in Minneapolis, wild rice soup with pasture-raised
chicken. But whether in Texas, Minnesota, or Washington DC, chefs
are required to create their local meals using only ingredients
produced within 150 miles of the cafes. Salt is the only exception.
As anyone who has ever tasted a just-picked Maine blueberry, sweet
Dungeness crab from the Pacific Ocean, or an ear of corn picked
within hours of that first crisp bite knows, local, in-season foods
are packed with flavor and texture, and offer variety and nutrition
that you won’t often find in a typical grocery store.
You might expect that such culinary perfection comes at a steep
cost. Here’s a surprising twist in a shaky food economy: local, in
season foods frequently cost less simply because seasonal foods are
abundant and local foods don't incur expensive shipping costs from
fuel surcharges. Even as the local food movement hits its stride
with eco-gastronomists, health advocates, and environmentalists, the
average food item still travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate. As
fuel costs rise, this system will become unsustainable economically
as well as environmentally. The game has changed, and smart
businesses and consumers are responding with their forks.
"The American food system today faces unprecedented challenges" says
Maisie Greenawalt, Vice President of Bon Appétit Management Company.
"High oil prices threaten farmers' already slim profit margins.
Consumers' grocery bills have skyrocketed. Food safety risks are
increasing. The over 220,000 meals served during our Eat Local
Challenge will demonstrate the possibility of significant change by
illustrating the economic, environmental and health benefits of
eating local foods."
For consumers, as well as businesses like Bon Appétit Management
Company, taste and economics aren't the only reasons to buy locally.
Add recent food safety scares, the importance of keeping money in
the local community, and preserving rural farmland, and the reasons
for buying local just keep stacking up.
A company like Bon Appetit has significant buying power. When that
buying power is put to work purchasing direct from producers, it has
a real impact on the livelihoods of local farmers and the economic
health of the community. "We are actively working to create an
efficient, regional food web that works to everyone’s advantage. Our
chefs collaborate with other chefs in the region when ordering from
small farmers, and the farmers often work cooperatively on
deliveries, saving energy—both human and fossil-based." says Fedele
Bauccio, CEO of Bon Appetit Management Company.
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