Chefs Collaborative is the leading nonprofit network of chefs that’s changing the sustainable food landscape using the power of connections, education and responsible buying decisions.
First a few things about Chefs Collaborative as stated in their website….
chefs collaboratives goals are as follows:
Cultivate a vibrant community to develop and share best practices.
Provide educational and informational resources to the professional food service and culinary community.
Build a strong membership base of hundreds of members across the country.
The Mission is simple:
Chefs Collaborative works with chefs and the greater food community to celebrate local foods and foster a more sustainable food supply. The Collaborative inspires action by translating information about our food into tools for making knowledgeable purchasing decisions. Through these actions, our members embrace seasonality, preserve diversity and traditional practices, and support local economies.
In their website there is also a Statement of Principles:
1. Food is fundamental to life, nourishing us in body and soul. The preparation of food strengthens our connection to nature. And the sharing of food immeasurably enriches our sense of community.
2. Good food begins with unpolluted air, land, and water, environmentally sustainable farming and fishing, and humane animal husbandry.
3. Food choices that emphasize delicious, locally grown, seasonally fresh, and whole or minimally processed ingredients are good for us, for local farming communities, and for the planet.
4. Cultural and biological diversity are essential for the health of the earth and its inhabitants. Preserving and revitalizing sustainable food, fishing, and agricultural traditions strengthen that diversity.
5. By continually educating themselves about sustainable choices, chefs can serve as models to the culinary community and the general public through their purchases of seasonal, sustainable ingredients and their transformation of these ingredients into delicious food.
6. The greater culinary community can be a catalyst for positive change by creating a market for good food and helping preserve local farming and fishing communities.
Our vision: As a result of our work, sustainable practices will be second nature for every chef in the United States.
We have found our vision in sync and on time with chefs collaborative efforts and we are very proud that the only restaurant that made this collaborative dinner in the state of Virginia but also confident that will see a lot more restaurants participating in the years to come …
Mise en place
There are so many pristine fresh ingredients available to us i could possibly dedicate post after post on them … our idea of the dinner was to source at least 90 percent or more from the surrounding area ,and go no further than 80-100 miles …
We are fortunate to have foragers , farmers and producers knocking on our door constantly so we have been working hard building relationships with them through the past year … And for this event we wanted to showcase 2 local farms and all local wild foraged or locally produced ingredients and this really worked better than we expected…
Our Trout came from Big Pine Trout provisions and our pork belly for this dinner came from . Nate came through with beautiful rhubarb , dandelions, wild flowers and herbs as well as a number of foraged greens for the salad. Our eggs came locally as well as all the butter and milk …Even the bread was made using flours from the Old Guildford mills in Virginia..
So our first goal was successful .. But most people dont understand the concept of the earth day dinner yet ,and being the first in town to do a dinner of that kind certainly left us uncertain as to what we should expect. We were very surprised by the events that followed that uncertainty .
First we had a group of talented singers from Singers of United Lands a non profit organization that requested if we would be interested in allowing them to sing for the earth day dinner in our restaurant as their tour stop . We couldn’t had been more happy and fortunate to do so.. Then, as the day progressed ,more and more people filled the reservation book and we had a great evening at the restaurant .
Our salad of foraged greens, watercress dandelions violet leaves and flowers pak choi and mustard flowers paired with beets pickled and roasted and Curtons dairy goat cheese …
Pork belly cured and shaved between fresh trout from Big Pine Trout poato tuille , crispy trout skin collards pommes puree sea grass from Fresh Origins and a melange of local foraged and farmed mushrooms and crispy collard chips…
Well we where pleasantly surprised from the turnout and the support we found along the way and we are definitely expect to continue our support to a noble cause and also establish earth day dinners for the years to come as a celebration of food, farms and people.