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Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Chefs Collaborative Members Win Big at 2015 #JBFA

Last Monday, 9 Chefs Collaborative Members took home 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards!

  • Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern) for Outstanding Chef
  • Dan Barber (Blue Hill at Stone Barns) for Writing and Literature for The Third Plate
  • Blue Hill at Stone Barns for Outstanding Restaurant
  • Rick Bayless (Frontera, Topolobampo, Xoco, Founding Member) for Podcast
  • Adam Danforth (Butcher, Author, Board Member) for Reference and Scholarship forButchering: Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, and Goat
  • Barry Maiden (Hungry Mother, State Park) for Best Chef: Northeast
  • Michel Nischan (Wholesome Wave) for Humanitarian of the Year
  • Jonathon Sawyer (The Greenhouse Tavern) for Best Chef: Great Lakes
  • Justin Stanhope (FIG) for Best Chef: Southeast.

See the full list of winners here. Congratulations!

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

For the Discerning Chef’s Bookshelf: Review, Defending Beef

By Alisha Fowler and Michael Leviton, Lumiere

California is grappling with a historic drought, and the issues surrounding meat production are increasingly in the news. It is more important than ever to be informed about the proteins that you source, cook, and serve.

Whether beef is on your menu every night, or you run a vegan establishment, rancher, lawyer, and former Chefs Collaborative Board Member Nicolette Niman’s new book, Defending Beef, is on chef Michael Leviton’s must-read list in 2015. It’s sure to make you think twice, especially if responsibly-raised beef is not on your menu.

In Defending Beef, Nicolette spells out a powerful argument for why beef is not inherently bad for our planet or our health. In fact, she posits that beef has a vital role to play. Through an incredible amount of data, she debunks common cow “myths” and makes an irrefutable argument that beef production can, and should, be beneficial for the environment.

Now, not all that you learn in Defending Beef will be news to you. If you were with us in Boulder, Colorado this past fall for Chefs Collaborative’s 2014 Sustainable Food Summit, you would have heard Chris Kerston of the Savory Institute articulate how properly managed cattle herds are critical for maintaining and restoring ecosystems. Allan Savory, the visionary leader of the Savory Institute, also has an electrifying TED talk on this matter. In her book, Nicolette makes similar points, arguing that cattle are powerful surrogates for the wild herds that used to roam our open lands.

For Michael, what sticks with him is the wealth of scholarly information Nicolette provides, and how she manages to clearly separate responsible beef production from the rest of the herd.

“As chefs and consumers, we need to ask more than just ‘does it taste good?’ We need a deeper understanding of our food’s production. This book can help us do our homework, and better understand the connections between our planet’s health, our industrial food system, our health, and the purchasing decisions that we make everyday.”

Beyond being a powerful education tool, Defending Beef should inspire you to continue to change menus and change lives with your food dollars – whether you are a professional chef or are cooking for your family.

You can find Defending Beef online here. Be sure to use Amazon Smile if you shop with Amazon to help support Chefs Collaborative!

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Congratulations JBF Award Nominees!

beardawardThey’re here! Congratulations to the 2015 James Beard Foundation Award nominees! We’re thrilled to see Chefs Collaborative Members and restaurants featured! Below are our Members who are up for awards this year. You can peruse the full nominee list here.

Restaurant and Chef Awards

Outstanding Chef

  • Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
  • Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

Best Chef: Northeast

  • Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA
  • Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA

Best Chef: South

  • Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast

  • Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta
  • Jason Stanhope, FIG, Charleston, SC

Book Awards

Reference and Scholarship
Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering
Adam Danforth
(Storey Publishing)

Writing and Literature
The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food
Dan Barber
(Penguin Press)

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Member Voices and Faces: Cathy Whims

CathyWhimsName: Cathy Whims

Restaurant: Nostrana and Oven and Shaker, Portland, OR

What’s one thing you’re excited to be changing on your menu in 2015?
At Nostrana we are always guided by the concept of La Cucina Povera. For 2015 we are most excited about the centuries old traditions of Italian fish based Lenten foods known as La Cucina de Magro. With pork and bacon being king for the past several years our chefs, our guests and our palates are looking for lighter and bright flavors, our answer is to highlight the sustainable seafood we have available to us.

We don’t just buy a fillet or a side of a fish, we buy and break down a whole fish or sea creature and use every single part of it that we can. Under the concept of both La Cucina Povera and Cucina de Magro it makes sense for us to be using locally sourced sustainable ingredients that we have access to, many of which are right at our feet.

We always look to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list when we choose our fish. While we are lucky to have access to an abundance of sustainably farmed sturgeon right here in our own Pacific Northwest, since it is almost always available we sometimes over choose that over a variety of other local fish. Therefore, right now we are working on offering more variety when it comes to fish and seafoods on our menus that change daily. We are excited by utilizing locally sourced, unusual fish aka “trash fish”. For example, the Columbia River smelt run this year was great and plentiful in Oregon. This NW smelt is often considered a fish that is used only for bait, however it is actually really delicious and only around for a short time. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy some of the smelt ourselves, share them with our customers and introduce them to something that used to be a NW tradition.

We have also been able to source Oregon octopus rather than sourcing octopus from Spain, as we had been doing for the past two years. We use it in many ways -from salads, to terrine, on the grill and of course on pizza.

The forgotten tradition of preserving seafood is something we are rediscovering.

We also make both an Oregon albacore pate and rillettes with the fish when it is in season. Confiting is well suited to the albacore because with a whole fish you end up with way more than you can use all at once. Being able to preserve some literally allows one to extend the use and make the most of one fish.

One of my favorites is our Pate di Magro. The albacore is oily fish so you don’t have to be as delicate with it. It translates very well to being being whipped, confit’d and pressed into terrines. In the Pate de Magro the lemon and herbs are a perfect match for the fish. Bright, herbaceous, luscious and without being heavy. With tuna have a long history of canning and preserving in our region we definitely “put some up” for keeping in our pantry, but it doesn’t last long because we all love to eat it. When we run out, we run out and that is it until next year’s catch.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

From Portland, OR to Bristol Bay

pdEarlier this week, I sat down with Member Laura Ohm, Cuisine Manager of Grand Central Bakery in Portland, Oregon to ask her what she’s most excited to be changing on her menu this year. Our conversation quickly centered on Bristol Bay, Alaska and how they have set up a unique relationship to get salmon on their menus no matter the season…

Q: Laura, what’s one thing you’re excited to be changing on your menu in 2015?

Laura: We will be buying Bristol Bay salmon again this year. Instead of fresh, we have the luxury of getting frozen, vacuum-sealed fillets delivered at the end of the fishing season. We then cure and smoke the fillets, and make a sandwich with cream cheese, green onions, capers, and fresh tomato. It’s delicious. We buy from our local guys, Iliamna Fish Co. They live in Portland, fish in Alaska, and I think are excited to have an outlet for all those frozen fillets.

How did you come to source Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, and when did you start doing this?
We started in 2012. We started because of Chefs Collaborative’s campaign and work to help stop Pebble Mine. Piper Davis, Grand Central co-owner, was a new board member and we were wondering how Grand Central – as a group of neighborhood bakeries and cafés supplied by a commissary kitchen – was going to participate with the Collaborative’s campaigns.

We have different challenges, of course, than a full-service, high-end restaurant. We can’t cook fish to order. I hit upon the idea of a sandwich special that riffed on the bagel and lox combo that my husband and I eat often—cream cheese, capers, thinly sliced onion, lox and a squeeze of lemon. We are not a bagel bakery, so we started with the GCB demi-baguette, and because this is the Pacific NW, we hot-smoked the salmon. It’s been a hit ever since.

What’s your purchasing style? Do you buy your salmon all at once at the end of the season, and then use it throughout the year?
Yes, typically we buy all the salmon at once at the end of season (once the Iliamna folks are back in town) and use it for the course of the special. Last year, this allowed us to get a pretty good deal; since Iliamna didn’t have to worry about shipping fresh, it saved them multiple deliveries.

How much salmon do you go through in a month, approx.?
During the time of the special, we went through 650lbs in about 6 or 7 weeks, between 10 bakery-cafés.

Did you initially buy fresh salmon, or have you always used frozen?
Only frozen. Buying frozen really helps us—we have a large walk-in freezer so we have the storage capacity. As a commissary kitchen, it allows us to recipe to the ups and downs of multiple café orders. It also allows us to negotiate a good deal, since again frozen means fewer deliveries.

This fish is so delicious. It is frozen and packaged beautifully. At home I’ve made gravlax and tartar with the previously frozen sockeye, with great success. In the GCB kitchen we simply thaw overnight in the walk-in, or in a sink with cold running water (which thaw the fish in an hour or so). We give it a simple salt, pepper and sugar cure, and then hot smoke it. It couldn’t be easier. And it tastes great.

What feedback do you get from your customers about the taste and flavor of the salmon, if any?
This sandwich, which we’ve cleverly named The Bristol Bay, is hugely popular. PNW folks are a little nutty about their salmon, and this is the good stuff, which they can tell.

What have you learned through getting to know the story of Bristol Bay, and working with its fish?
I have found it really satisfying to share the story of the Pebble Mine struggle with employees, especially. To see the connection people make to reading a news story to what’s on their plate—that’s pretty powerful stuff. I’ve been to a few Chefs Collaborative Summits, and have found Paul Greenberg especially compelling. It’s pretty great to be inspired, and then go home and participate, putting your money where your mouth is.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Congratulations JBF Award Semifinalists!

beardawardThey’re here! Congratulations to the semifinalists for the James Beard Foudation’s 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award categories! We’re thrilled to see dozens of Chefs Collaborative Members and restaurants featured! Below are our Members who are up for awards. You can see the full list online here.

Outstanding Bar Program

  • Clyde Common, Portland, OR (Executive Chef: Carlo Lamagna, Individual Member)

Outstanding Chef

  • Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC

  • Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, MA

Outstanding Pastry Chef

  • Pamela Moxley, Miller Union, Atlanta, GA

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

  • Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO

Outstanding Restauranteur

  • Michael Leviton, Lumière, Newton, MA

  • Ethan Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Seattle (Staple & Fancy, How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies & Olives, and others)

Outstanding Wine Program

  • Miller Union, Atlanta

Best Chef – Great Lakes

  • Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago

Best Chef – Northeast

  • Eric Gabrynowicz, Restaurant North, Armonk, NY

  • Matt Louis, Moxy, Portsmouth, NH

  • Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA

  • Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Cambridge, MA
  • Champe Speidel, Persimmon, Bristol, RI

  • Eric Warnstedt, Hen of the Wood, Waterbury, VT

Best Chef – South

  • Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans, LA
  • Hari Pulapaka, Cress, DeLand, FL

  • Steve Phelps, Indigenous, Sarasota, FL

Best Chef – Southeast

  • Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta

  • Jason Stanhope, FIG, Charleston, SC

Best Chef – Southwest

  • Alex Seidel, Fruition, Boulder, CO

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Member Faces and Voices: Steven Satterfield

Name: Steven Satterfield
Restaurant: Miller Union
City, State: Atlanta, GA
Chefs Collaborative Atlanta Local Leader

What’s the one thing you’re excited to change on your menu in 2015? I’m excited about continuing to use more ingredients that inspire me, like the beautiful purple cauliflower and speckled Treviso radicchio that we just got in today from Woodland Gardens in Athens, the vermilion snapper that we have coming in off the coast of South Carolina, benne seed oil from my buddy Clay Oliver in south Georgia, the grass-fed beef roast beef sandwich that we are serving at lunch with gruyere and green tomatoes, the first of the new vidalia onions from South Georgia, small unwaxed rutabagas from Crystal Organics and the La Spinetta wine dinner that we are doing in a couple of weeks! I had fun tasting through that portfolio last night!”

Stay tuned for more Member Voices and Faces on our blog in 2015! Email us if you’d like to be featured.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

2014 Sustainable Food Summit Slideshow

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Three weeks, one goal: 50 states, 50 chefs

Last week, we launched Chefs Collaborative’s end of year fundraising campaign with a goal to raise $10,000 for our 2015 scholarship and education programs. In the first 7 days, we raised $3,908 thanks to the generosity of more than 25 donors. We need to raise $6,092 more to reach our goal, and with only 23 days left, we need your help today!

Your support is more critical than ever so that we can continue to create the educational opportunities that educate and inspire chefs to ‘change menus’ and ‘change lives.’

Support a chef. Donate today!

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Your contribution directly helps chefs like our 2014 scholarship recipients.

Meet our 2014 Scholars:

Ari KolenderLeon’s Fine Poultry and Oyster Shop, SC
Ben CantoneTallulah’s Taqueria, RI
Brett McClavyThe Cheese Shop, IA
David GouldRISD, RI
David LeFevreMB Post and Fishing with Dynamite, CA
Ed Crouse, Atlanta, GA
Florian WehrliTriomphe Restaurant Iroquois Hotel, NY
  Jaret FosterPortland Farmers Market, OR
Jason BondBondir, MA
Laura HeinlenGrand Central Bakery, WA
Matt LouisMoxy Restaurant, NH
Nathan TurnerBoone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant, KY
Peter McCarthyEVOO and Za, MA
Samuel MonsourThe Future of Junk Food, CA
 Stephen ManciniRestaurant North, NY
Steve PhelpsIndigenous, FL
Tobie RobinsonParsnips, WA

Support a chef. Donate today!

In 2015, our goal is to more than double our scholarships program and send 50 chefs from all 50 states to our Sustainable Food Summit in NYC. This is an ambitious goal, and we need your support today to make it happen. Help us send 50 chefs from 50 states to our Sustainable Food Summit in NYC.

Donate today!
Help send 50 chefs to our next Sustainable Food Summit.

Chefs’ influence extends beyond the four walls of their restaurants. When chefs are informed and inspired to change menus, they have the power to change the life of the soil, water and air; the lives of plants, fish and animals; the lives of farmers, ranchers and fisherman; the lives of purveyors; the lives of their staff; the lives of their guests — the lives of entire communities that are nourished and restored by food. By helping one chef, you’re helping to change the lives of thousands of others.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler