Join Colleen Patrick-Goudreau at her Release Party to celebrate her newest new cookbook called The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion. Please join Colleen on June 7th, 2009 at Numi Tea Garden in Oakland, CA to enjoy fabulous food from the cookbook, organic Numi tea, live music, gift bags, raffle prizes, booksigning, and more. A portion of the proceeds benefits Farm Sanctuary. Doors open at 3:00 p.m. for mingling, hors d'oeuvres, and booksigning. You can order your $10.00 ticket here.
As a heads up, keep your eyes out for vegetable gardening stories in future Gratitude Gourmet blog posts. One of my friends is planting a tomato plant for the first time, and I sent this WikiHow description to her on how to grow a tomato plant http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-a-Tomato-Plant. This may be useful to you as well! Do you have a tomato growing tip you would like to share? If so, please comment on this blog post. (Photo Credit: WikiHow)
Peta has a new list of the most vegetarian friendly school cafeterias. Photo: Peta.
Residues of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide found in GM food and feed can cause cell damage and even death, even at very low levels. Read the full article here.
Bon Appétit Management Company is the Food and Beverage Innovator per the Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) Innovations Review 2009, specifically being recognized for reducing the environmental and carbon footprint of 400 corporate and university cafes around the US. EDF unveiled Innovations Review 2009: Green Advances for a New Economy at the Fortune Brainstorm Green Conference in Laguna Niguel, California on April 21, 2009. The Innovations Review is a survey of environmental innovations in business and highlights the most compelling new practices and technologies EDF has identified over the year: those that drive operational efficiency, create new business opportunities, and carve out competitive advantages.(Bill Clinton also spoke at the Conference on Earth Day about his Clinton Climate Initiative, and my review of Bill Clinton's Speech is here.)
For history, Gratitude Gourmet featured Bon Appétit's Online Food Calculator, meat and cheese operational reduction, and educational program in a February 2009 blog post.
I was fortunate to interview Bon Appétit's CEO and Founder Fedele Bauccio at the Fortune Brainstorm Green Conference. As his background is Italian, he was always attracted to food, eating together, and bonding. Therefore, since it was customary to chat over food, he enjoyed some fresh fruit during our afternoon discussion.
In founding Bon Appétit, Fedele asked the following questions: “Why can't I create really good food in a large restaurant environment, and how do I build a restaurant company in a contract environment”. He said, “Everyone remembers watered-down green beans from many years ago”, and this is something he wanted to avoid. Fedele founded his company in 1987 with the goals of creating a niche company and hiring great chefs to revolutionize the contract marketplace. He acquired several accounts including Oracle and embraced ethnic concepts such as a Japanese noodle bar. Other companies saw this and wanted a customized solution. Many people saw this concept as unsustainable, however, Fedele saw this as an opportunity to provide great food and the money would come later. He talked to a few college Presidents and gained their accounts. Now, he has well over 100 colleges and universities and companies including Stanford Business School, eBay, Yahoo!, Cisco, and Oracle. As companies expanded across the United States, Bon Appétit was asked to move with them.
The Chefs found a tomato didn't taste like a tomato, and he let the chefs loose to source the food. He asked the Chefs to create what they wanted. Per Fedele, “It's important for the chefs to feel like entrepreneurs."
Values and Environment
In 1999, Fedele started Farm to Fork sourcing. Bon Appétit's value system also expanded to a platform of cage-free eggs. The problem of overfishing and seeing the unsanitary, lice-infested farmed salmon conditions also impacted the menu choices. He also had concerns with how cows and pigs were raised in factory farming and inhumane conditions in the United States. Once Fedele learned how food impacts climate change emissions, he decided to work on the problem by reducing meat and cheese in its operations. He also wanted to ensure they were sourcing safe food, addressing human welfare of farmers across the United States, and changing the landscape of food services and industry best practices to provide fresh, healthy, and tasty food. He wants an apple that came off the tree yesterday and local, seasonal food that tastes wonderful. He also produces authentic ethnic food, including Italian, Greek, Japanese, and Indian, and a variety of vegetarian and vegan options.
Per Fedele, "it's important that if you shift your brand and only do pieces of it, and it isn't in the fabric of the company, you're not setting the right example for the brand." Bon Appétit operates the Circle of Responsibility Website, which features data on how food choices affect climate change and environment, the online Carbon Diet Calculator, and the Low Carbon Diet Facebook Quiz. The Environmental Page also includes the following questions: How are your food choices affecting climate change? What does your morning cup of coffee have to do with tropical songbirds? Did you know that in the U.S. more antibiotics are given to chickens than humans? How are your seafood choices affecting the oceans? In addition, Bon Appétit has educational table tents at their food service cafes, and representatives visit many companies and college campuses for educational talks. They approach the discussions by stating what they're doing and ask what the audience can do.
Leadership and Awards
This week has brought Fedele more good news. In addition to the EDF Innovations Review 2009 announcement this week, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) chose Fedele Bauccio, Bon Appétit CEO, as a Finalist in its first-ever sustainable food ‘Growing Green’ awards. Michael Pollan and other food and agriculture notables are the judges, and the announcement is here.
Congratulations Fedele and your staff. You are a Leader taking your values and vision and positively transforming the food service industry, employee and customer experience, and the health and well-being of our environmental ecosystems and planet.
Photo: Courtesy of Bon Appétit
Updated news since the article ran:
1. Fedele Bauccio, Bon Appétit Management Company, was a recipient of the May 9, 2009 First Annual NRDC Growing Green Awards, and my article featuring the event and my interviews with Fedele Bauccio and Michael Pollan are here.
2. Bill Clinton also spoke on Earth Day at Fortune Brainstorm Green, and my article on his speech is here.
I sat down with Ashley Chavez at a recent Women 2.0 event to learn more about her business, LoveCakes and to try her cupcakes! A crowd of fellow business owners and startup developers gathered around us to taste these cupcakes as well!
After learning that the dairy and egg industries were not kind to the animals, Ashley started experimenting with vegan foods, She realized that vegan pastries were great and worked for a pastry chef for an entire summer writing millions of recipes.
She brought two cupcakes flavors with her: Thin Mint and Pecan Sandie. The Thin Mint Cupcakes are her favorite due to the contrast in flavor of the fudge in the middle of the chocolate cake and mint frosting. The Pecan Sandie Cupcakes are made with soy cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla. and a cinnamon glaze. Both cupcakes were moist, flavorful, and delicious, and my favorite was the Thin Mint! The chocolate fudge and mint combination were superb!
She currently distributes LoveCakes cupcakes and cakes via events, catering, birthday parties, weddings, bakesales, and vegan contracting for cakeshops that have been having a hard time making vegan cakes.
She likes giving cakes to people who don't know they're vegan; then she tells them they're vegan, and they say, "what's that"?
If you'd like to order them, please order 2 weeks advance for the San Francisco Bay Area via emailing her at email@example.com or calling her at (209) 601-5013.
In addition to running LoveCakes, she is a full-time student studying business, and her goal is to run her own San Francisco Bakery by age 25.
Photo courtesy of Shirley Lin at WooMeOver
Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen Cookbook Launch at San Francisco's Museum of African Diaspora featured several delicious items from Bryant's Cookbook including Spicy Goobers, Garlicky Baby Lima Bean Spread with Winter Crudites, BBQ Tempeh Cubes, Rosemary Butternut Squash Soup Shooters, and Citrus Collards with Raisins Bruschetta.
My interview with Bryant follows:
MV: You introduce each cookbook recipe with a story. What story about you would you like to share?
BT: I was inspired by the late Edna Lewis, a chef from Freetown, Virginia who grew up enjoying the local foods of her region. She moved to New York and became head chef at Manhatten's Cafe Nicholson. Sharing Country Cooking and the diverse flavors of the South were important to her, and in addition to being a chef, she was a cookbook author. Her second cookbook, The Taste of Country Cooking, deeply influenced me as an artist, storyteller, and creative person. It's important for me to tell stories and consider the history of food and memory of family connections. The industrialization and mechanization of our food system has facilitated the loss of food knowledge which I'm trying to help people recover.
My personal food choices align with my values of supporting, all living beings, local economies, and the environment as well as working towards a more equitable food system. Inspired by Alice Waters, I am committed to helping people think more deeply about these issues by bringing everyone to the table to celebrate the sensual pleasures of food.
MV: If people in the San Francisco Bay Area with limited garden space wanted to have a garden with vegetables and herbs that coincide with your book's recipes, what advice would you give them?
BT: Grow herbs in your kitchen window, fire escape, on the roof. Plant a small garden. If you have space, grow food in your front yard. I built a raised-bed garden in my front yard, and it's inspiring people to convert their front yards into edible landscapes. In our garden, I have three different varieties of collard greens, chard, broccoli, celery, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, oregano, kale, and two varieties of lettuce. We have a nectarine tree in the backyard. Several people in our neighborhood are creating our own micro-community that's making a tremendous impact on the street.
MV: You've heard about Michelle Obama's organic White House Garden. Have you been in touch with the Obama's about your work?
BT: I'm not in touch with Obama's team as yet. I'm excited about the energetic and brilliant minds in the new administration and the many changes happening in such a short period of time. The production of food for the White House is a symbol of the direction we all should be heading in. I hope that we'll all put pressure on our elected officials to help create healthy and sustainable food policies for all Americans.
MV: Out of your book's 150 recipes, do you have a particular recipe that readers should try?
BT: Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux. It’s my new take on an old classic.
MV: What events do you have in the next few weeks?
BT: There are two events: On April 18, 2009, there is a Fundraiser for the Oakland Food Connection including featured guests, a catered dinner, and live music. And every attendee will receive a copy of Vegan Soul Kitchen, and I will be there for signing. On April 25, 2009, “The People” party in Oakland invited me to curate an Afro-Diasporic food court. I invited 6 chefs to share their unique vision of food inspired by ingredients from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. And there will be dancing and community-building. More information can be found here.
MV: Are you working on another book?
BT: Yes, I'm illustrating how one can eat healthy and sustainably in an urban setting.
MV: Thank you.
Bonus: If you'd like to see Chef Bryant Terry demonstrate how to prepare Sauteed Jalapeno Corn, check out this video.
As part of the economic stimulus plan, the Agriculture Department plans to award $250 million in loan guarantees, spread over the next two years, for local and regional food networks. What food networks are these? Will they involve CSAs and farmers? The full article is here.
You may have heard that 'water' is being discussed as the new 'gold'. After I finished reading Woody Tasch's new book and talked with him, perhaps 'Soil' should also be the new 'gold'.
Woody Tasch is author of Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money:Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered. Per Tasch, several years of agricultural industrialization and financial policies have contributed to the degradation of our soils. “It takes roughly a millennium to build an inch or two of soil; it takes less than forty years, on average, to strip an inch of soil by farming in ways that are more focused on current yield than on sustaining fertility. A third of America's topsoil has eroded since 1776. About a third of China's 130 million hectares of farmland is seriously eroded, and Chinese crop yields fell by more than 10 percent from 1999 to 2003, despite increasing application of synthetic fertilizers.”
His premise (of Slow Money) is: “The problems we face with respect to soil, fertility, biodiversity, food quality, and local economies are not primarily problems with technology. They are problems of finance. In a financial system organized to optimize the efficient use of capital, we should not be surprised to end up with cheapened food, millions of acres of GMO corn, billions of food miles, dying Main Streets, kids who think food comes from supermarkets, and obesity epidemics side by side with persistent hunger.”
Tasch is Chairman of Investors' Circle, a U.S group funding socially responsible companies, where $130 million has been placed in 200 businesses, i.e. ZipCar.
He is currently raising money for the Slow Money venture fund dedicated to investing in local, sustainable agriculture ventures. He also wants to help build a marketplace where farmers and financiers can find each other. He says: “Social Investors are starting to invest in entrepreneurs, and people are eager to discuss fundamental alternatives.” He is planning to include more attention on a grassroots investment strategy: a structure that will allow smaller investors to be involved, and the details are currently being worked.
I asked how the news of the UN Climate Change report stating that animal agriculture causes more greenhouse gases than transportation and Bon Appetit, a food service provider, cutting meat to cut carbon is impacting the Slow Money investment philosophy? He says the issue is scale and industrial farming is causing the problems. Sustainable farms are important.
Gratitude Gourmet would suggest that investing in plant-based companies be the goal.
Slow Money has already made its first investment in Vermont-based High Mowing Seeds, which supplies seeds to 75 percent of the organic farmers in the country, according to founder and CEO Tom Stearns. Investors will earn 6 percent interest on their money over the next five years, paid in a balloon payment in the fifth year, at which point they can opt to leave their money in and let it grow or term out the debt at ten years, according to Stearns. High Mowing Seeds currently has $1 million in sales, and Stearns projects $3 million in sales over the next two years.
The Slow Money Alliance was also established to run Slow Money Institutes, publish books and white papers, and members include food entrepreneurs, farmers, investors, and philanthropists. It is looking to expand Alliance membership.
Local Harvest has a Farmers Market Webpage where you can find the closest Farmers Market to You. Gratitude Gourmet is also hosting this information on our site. Check it out and let us know what you think!