Bon Appetit trains spotlight on local seafood
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
A Bon Appétit Management Co. executive chef,
Ingrid Rohrer, works with fresh salmon. An emphasis on local fish sourcing is bringing more varieties of local fish to food service menus.
Bon Appétit Management Company is making a concerted effort to put more local fish on its thousands of cafe plates by declaring this Tuesday a company-wide Eat Local Fish Challenge.
The first-ever event will result in more than 25,000 pounds of locally caught or responsibly farmed seafood served at Bon Appétit's 500 cafes around the country.
The push for local fish stands in contrast to a new report out last week from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That report pegged U.S. commercial fishing hauls at a 17 year high (10.1 billion pounds of fish worth $5.3 billion) in 2011 even while most of the fish Americans eat — a whopping 91 percent — is imported.
Bon Appétit, a leader in sustainable practices, wants to change that equation. The company has a strong presence in Oregon where it provides food service for many of the region's universities and companies including Intel, Adidas and Mentor Graphics. Bon Appétit's founder and CEO is Fedele Bauccio, a graduate of the University of Portland.
The company has held annual Eat Local Challenges for the last seven years, requiring chefs to feature meals made with all local ingredients. This year, however, the focus is on fish with at least one meal in each cafe featuring local fish.
"There's such a wonderful community now of people interested in their local food shed," said Helen York, director of purchasing strategy for Bon Appétit. "But the focus has been on produce and livestock. Why not fish? It's a resource that we're losing in many places because we're not caring for it."
Bon Appétit has long committed itself to responsible seafood sourcing, keeping to varieties deemed sustainable by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. But now, York said, the company is interested in seeing what they can do to support regional fishing economies.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.