Farm To Table: The Who’s Who Of The Culinary Scene
When you go out to eat, it is almost impossible to find something healthy with minimal calories. Some salads are even loaded with fats and produce that came from different parts of the world, making your salad selection not so fresh or nutritious. However, there is a new trend that many restaurants and chefs are participating in known as the ‘Farm-to-Table’ movement. It consists of restaurants incorporating fresh ingredients in their menus using produce and other foods from local farmers and suppliers in order to provide the freshest meals. So which restaurants and chefs are not only looking out for your taste buds, but your health and the environment too?
Chef Randy Evans, founder of Haven, “a seasonal kitchen” in Houston, TX, created a menu that incorporates almost 20 small farms, artisan cheese makers, ranches and other small, local companies that supply meats, vegetables, herbs, fish, as well as other ingredients. Chef Evans also works towards having minimal impact on the environment through design and sustainable practices, such as the creation of an organic garden and having his own honeybee hive.
Founder and CEO Alberto Gonzalez’s GustOrganics restaurant in New York is the first and only certified organic restaurant where every meal uses all organic ingredients and supports small farmers. It is also the greenest restaurant in the world by using solar and wind energy, recycling, composting, conserving water and distributing biodegradable take-home containers, cups and flatware. It is also the first and only USDA-certified organic bar in the world. Gonzalez grew up in Argentina where he was exposed to his mother’s fresh, healthy cooking. He then developed his Latin-based organic menu, and currently works towards encouraging other restaurants to develop greener practices, meets with students in culinary schools to motivate them to create organic meals and is often asked to speak at different events throughout New York.
Andrea Beaman became motivated in creating healthy, natural meals after she was diagnosed with an incurable disease where the doctor recommended radiation in order to destroy her thyroid that could possibly save her. Instead she used food as a healing agent, which worked! She is now a nutritionist who holds classes in order to teach others what healing foods people should incorporate into their diet, depending on their condition, and promotes seasonal, organic, local foods in her cooking/recipes. Her cooking classes are in New York, NY or you can also view her on her live webinars.
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten opened ABC Kitchen in New York, NY and provides a menu full of fresh, safe, seasonal ingredients practicing the ‘farm-to-table’ movement. The foods provided are free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics, hormones, GMOs and are natural or from humane farmers and fair trade cooperatives.
Chef Lynda Lacher from the Nutrition Therapy Institute (NTI), a culinary institute in Denver, CO, teaches students how to prepare meals using principles of Western holistic nutrition in order to pursue a career in nutrition therapy. She focuses on the concept of cooking with foods that are available from local organic farms that are seasonal, as well as raw materials such as milk and other products. Many of the graduates use their knowledge to either cook healthy meals for family members with ailments or have started their own workshops to educate people that have been diagnosed with chronic diseases, autism, IBS, fibromyalgia, etc.
There are restaurants and chefs all over the country that are participating in the ‘Farm-to-Table’ movement. Do some research and find out which options are close to you. Not only will eating at these locations appease your palate, but it will also enable you to enjoy a healthy meal in a sustainable way.
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Stephanie Siemek is a freelance writer whose work can be found on Examiner.com.