From Chefs to Local Foods Foragers, Bon Appetit Keeps Its Eye on the Prize

The food service company is scouring the country for "hidden gems" in an effort to get seriously local.

Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit is a national sustainable-minded food catering company servicing many of the large institutions in our local communities—museums, universities, etc. But now they want to get even more local, with their announcement this week that 15 of their top chefs and managers will switch roles and become "foragers," essentially scouts for high-quality local foods grown within 150 miles of the Bon Appetit kitchen. The company wants to add 1,000 local partners to their Farm to Fork Network by next year—hence the latest push.

The move indicates a willingness of the company to take risks and switch things up in order to live up to its mission and advance its goals. Switching people's roles temporarily is no easy task and requires serious adjustment. But the company has its goals and is going after them. "The Bon Appetit foragers will be integral to the company's mission, bringing local food from nearby farmers or artisanal producers to the nearest cafe, where it will then be used to prepare inventive and delicious meals that feed the local community," according to the press release.

"By establishing 15 distinct forager positions in each region of operations, Bon Appetit is ensuring even the smallest regional suppliers have the opportunity to be discovered. The Bon Appetit foraging team will help connect real food producers to area chefs, bridging the gap between small farms and the restaurant industry."

We wrote earlier this week about the new wave of teens and college students choosing organic farming as their career path. Maybe Bon Appetit should tap all those budding farmers to make sure those kids' career choices are not only environmentally sustainable, but financially as well. Job offer, anyone? An organic match made in heaven.

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