Only a Few Seats Left for Trash Fish Chicago!





Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Member Post: Eric Cacciatore on hospitality and sustainability

RUcoverart2 300x300New CC member Eric Cacciatore wanted to share his story with our community — and invite you to take on a challenge. Read on.

First and foremost, I am a student majoring in hospitality management. Secondly, I am the founder and host of Restaurant Unstoppable, a podcast dedicated to learning from and collaborating with successful restaurant professionals across the nation. Over the past few months I have interviewed some incredible guests who have taught me about the type of leadership, character, and passion that is required to be successful in the restaurant industry. A common denominator shared by all of these guests has been their support of Chefs Collaborative.

Naturally, I wanted to discover more about the hype surrounding Chefs Collaborative, and discover I did. I learned:

  • The power and effectiveness of collaboration to create awareness.
  • The vitality of supporting your community’s economy by sourcing from local purveyors, farmers, and artisans. We need to regrow our middle class.
  • Sustainability is not just about sustaining our food supply; it is also about sustaining our culture, tradition, and the sense of community and hospitality.

Wait—did he just say sustainability ties into hospitality? That’s a stretch.

No, really, it’s not. In fact, Chefs Collaborative Board Member Evan Mallet points out in my very first episode that the concept of serving food to strangers first began in inns and hotels. These inns and hotels would serve soup as restorantes (translated in French as “restoratives”) to help tired travelers complete their journey. This is the origin of restaurant, a direct by-product of the hospitality industry.

See? *Sniff* [thumb brushes nose].

Now that I’ve made my case, let’s look more closely at hospitality. Danny Meyers in Setting the Table defines “enlightened hospitality” (what he believes is the key to his success) as “prioritizing the order in which you deploy hospitality, starting first with your employees, followed by your guest, community, suppliers and investors.” Notice the emphasis on community and supplies?

I believe the key to success in this industry (alongside know-how and sincere passion) is being a genuinely good person. Hospitality is at the core of all good people. Hospitality is warmth, caring, friendliness, and neighborliness, accompanied by generosity, helpfulness, geniality, and kindness. I encourage you to put these words to use the next time you engage your community and local suppliers, and in doing so you will grow happier and more successful.

I also believe that with the establishment of chains, corporations, and franchising, this quality of hospitality has fast faded from the food and beverage industry in addition to sustainable practices.

Chefs Collaborative resonated so deeply with me since discovering it that I decided to support the cause by becoming a member. It is because of Chefs Collaborative and other influences that I’ve decided to focus my podcast on the indie restaurant professionals. They are the true artisans and skilled craftsmen of our industry, and the ones we can learn the most from.

I may not have any monetary value to offer our Collaborative, but I do have a voice and a top ranked restaurant podcast on iTunes that can act as a vehicle to spread our message on sustainability.

I am looking to other Collaborative members for support. Like I mentioned earlier, I lack an abundance of connections. I am a student of hospitality who decided to create a podcast to help others by keenly listening to the advice of successful restaurant professionals. Please help me connect with recognized, well-respected, and influential chefs, general managers, proprietors, and restaurateurs. Collaborative members can use this as an opportunity to create awareness and promote our cause.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with a challenge: pick one restaurant professional you admire and would love to learn from. Tweet your answers to @EricCacciatore or email me at [email protected].

Posted by: Chefs Collaborative

Congrats CC Beard Winners!

JBF_Award_May2014Congrats to the chefs, restaurateurs, and food writers nominated for the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards. The official results are in, and we were absolutely thrilled to see so many Chefs Collaborative members honored last night!

2014 Restaurant and Chef Awards

  • Naomi PomeroyBeast (Portland, OR)

2014 Best New Restaurant

2014 Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America

2014 Book Awards



Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Earth Dinner spotlight: Whole Foods Lynwood WA

More than 60 restaurants across the country will be rocking Earth Dinners from coast to coast this week and next. We’ll be featuring Earth Dinner events on our blog for the rest of April – here’s one from Whole Foods in Lynwood, WA:

Healthy Earth Month Dinner at Heritage Cottage

EARTHDINNER_logo_type-treeWant to eat healthy and celebrate Earth Month with local produce? Join Marja for a healthy-inspired farm- to-table menu to celebrate Earth month.  Denise Breyley, Whole Foods Market Forager, will also be discussing their work with local farmers. Event held at Heritage Cottage, a former family farm with beautiful scenery and 1920’s vintage décor.

The menu features Tapas (Spanish Appetizers), Multi-vegetable Paella, and Hazelnut Cream with Grilled Honey Oranges and Almond Cookies for dessert.  Ingredients provided by Willie Green’s Organic Farms and French Prairie Farms.

Any questions, contact Marja Murray, Healthy Cooking Coach, Whole Foods Market, [email protected]

  • Where: Heritage Cottage (at Heritage Park), 19921 Poplar Way, Lynnwood, WA 98036
  • Date: Wednesday, April 30
  • Time: 6 pm to 8 pm
  • Cost: $20 per person

RSVP: Sign up and pre-pay in-person at Customer Service at Whole Foods Market Lynnwood or call 425.775.1320 and contact Customer Service to pay over phone.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Artisan Charcuterie and pig butchering in Kauai

This is a guest post from member chef Ron Miller of Hukilau Lanai

As the executive chef and owner of Hukilau Lanai, a restaurant on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, I recently had an amazing experience that I would like to share.

HukilauIn January, we hosted a three day Artisan Charcuterie and pig butchering seminar called The Pig Gig under the direction of Francois Vecchio.  Francois published the book, Charcutier. Salumiere. Wurstmeisteras well as a DVD, which demonstrates the European method of pig butchery.  The book is philosophy, history and technique of this ancient craft.  He is 77 years young with an amazing spirit.

The seminar began Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. and the students were chefs, hunters and pig enthusiasts.

In three days we butchered three pigs (one wild and two raised on Kauai) and made no less than 19 products, including cured meats, salumi, fresh sausages, pate, and so much more. Francois began with a discussion of the science behind the art and followed with a butchery demonstration, that’s when the students jumped in to tackle the remaining animals.

In addition to the butchery, day one included offal recipes.  Day two began with a lesson in making fresh sausage and pate, and we all picked a recipe from his book to prepare. We also started dry cured meats and salami. On the third day, we put the salami into casings and gathered any remaining product for one final batch of breakfast sausage. Afterward, we sat at a long table with wine and beer, and celebrated Francois as we feasted on what we made.

Since his three year apprentice ship in Geneva that started in 1958, Francois has held many significant positions (for more information He is over-the-top passionate about quality meat products.   His next seminar is in Palmer AK beginning March 30.  It is a week long with participants from all over the country…

Here are some of the delicious results, from Hukilau’s menu:


Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Happy Spring: Earth Dinners are Back!

Today marks the first day of spring. It’s been a long winter and we’re so excited to bring back Earth Dinners this April in partnership with Organic Valley.
They’re an opportunity to change your menu in honor of Earth Day – even if just for a night – and highlight the great sustainable ingredients you use! We like to think of Earth Dinners as the Earth’s restaurant week.

When you sign up to host an Earth Dinner, you’ll get support from Chefs Collaborative and Organic Valley. We’ll help you plan your event, and give you the tools to make it a success.

Your Earth Dinner can be anything from a menu special to a one-time event with a local farmer. Our goal is to help you put on the kind of event you want to have, and amplify your story with the media.
Want specifics? Last year, more than 100 chefs hosted Earth Dinners! A few favorites:
  • Uncommonground on Devon in Chicago, IL offered a chef’s 3-course tasting menu. Their menu featured the best spring products from their farm and ranch partners.
  • Local Roots Restaurant in Roanoke, VA threw a Local Spring Lamb and Wild Foraged dinner with nearby farmers.
  • Grand Central Bakery in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA kicked off an “Eat, Cook, Bake Like it’s Earth Day Everyday” Campaign to raise awareness about its year-round sourcing of sustainable foods.
  • Lumiere Restaurant in Newton, MA held a prix fixe dinner. The menu included specialties such as Welfleet oyster ceviche, seared Cape Cod sea scallops, Vermont lamb porchetta and Cricket Creek Farm Tobasi.
  • See all 2013 Earth Dinner events.
The deadline to sign up is April 4. We hope you’ll join us for an amazing 2014 season!

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Congrats CC Beard Finalists!

JBFLOGOCongratulations to the chefs, restaurateurs, and food writers nominated for the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards. We’re thrilled to see so many members of our network nominated!

2014 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH) 

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI) 

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT) 

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY) 

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR) 

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV) 

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT) 

Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV) 

Best New Restaurant 

Outstanding Wine Program 

  • FIG, Charleston, SC

Outstanding Service 

Outstanding Restaurateur 

  • Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa Valley, CA (Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Back Street Kitchen)

Rising Star Chef of the Year 

Outstanding Restaurant 

Outstanding Chef 

2014 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America 

2014 James Beard Foundation Broadcast and New Media Awards

Radio Show/Audio Webcast

2014 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

American Cooking

Focus on Health

Single Subject

Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian

Congratulations and good luck to all of the chefs, restaurateurs and food writers who are nominatedthis year!


Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Trash Fish Boston: Stepping Up to the Plate

This is a guest post by Chef Samuel Monsour, Chefs Collaborative member, culinary mercenary and formerly of jmCurley in Boston.

In mid December 2013, Rob Booz  of Chefs Collaborative reached out to me and asked if I’d like to participate in this year’s Trash Fish Dinner hosted in Boston.

Rob’s email informed me that this year’s event would be held at Area Four in Cambridge on Sunday March 16th, which strategically coincides with the Boston Seafood Show. I was super pumped to be invited and without hesitation said sign me up!

IMG_2611 copy

A scene from the Summit. Credit: Sam Monsour.

Just a month beforehand, a bunch of us @chefscollab folks were in Charleston for the annual summit. The warm low-country sun over the long weekend helped us forget that winter was coming, and cheerfully, we soaked up rays of rich food culture and southern heritage. To my surprise, there were countless amazing people from New England that flew down south for the cause. Josh Lewin (Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro) and I crossed paths frequently, Mary Reilly (formerly Enzo Restaurant & Bar, now Edible Pioneer Valley), my father and I all enjoyed a long walk together, and after giving one of the most memorable speeches of the summit, Michael Leviton (The Man) and I tentatively booked a future beer date. (I’ve got a feeling that this Sunday night works well for the both of us.)

As a Collaborative, our four-day summit was a sustainable sprint that put us all on track toward a better tomorrow. Our finish line became clearer, and felt more in sight than ever before. Collectively, we realized that a future with promise doesn’t start tomorrow, but rather, started yesterday by our founding members. It will be up to each and every one of us to keep pace and endure the journey for a lifetime. I guess it’s more of a marathon than a sprint.

I remember during a panel discussion, I asked Sean Brock and Michael Ruhlman some pretty tough questions:

“As a young chef, what will I do when I’m handed the baton? What will I do when it’s my responsibility to keep the movement on track? What’s our endgame? How do we reach the masses?”

I’ll never forget Chef Brock’s answer. Simply put, and without hesitation, he responded, “never give up.” In the moment, I was expecting a more complicated answer, but as time has passed and I have been able to reflect, I’ve realized just how acute and powerful those three words are.

Ahh, the fucking memories. Anyone else hit up that skeevy-ass pizza joint a block from the hotel, Gilroy’s? Did you take them up on their BYOB license and grab an ice cold tall-boy of PBR from across the street while you awaited your hot and gooey slice?? Maaan, what a blast that trip was.

I guess that’s where I’m going with all of this. For as many great things as I learned and was exposed to, I had even more great interactions with people. After all, it was people that gave the speeches and hosted the breakout sessions, and it was people that showed up to learn and participate (over 300). All of those people decided to pledge an allegiance to a great cause, and I think it’s vital to our mission that we to take time to reflect upon how important and vital people are. Without people, there would be no collaborative.

My Pops and I met some super passionate people during our stay, one in particular that I’d like to mention is Scott Nichols (Verlasso). He shared with all of us some very harsh realities of farm-raised fish, and the approach toward farming salmon that Verlasso is working on. Scott sent us a few whole salmon over Christmas so that we could sample his product. They were wicked tasty! Scott will be in town for the seafood show and he’ll be dining with us at the Trash Fish Dinner. I love that small world shit. It’s proof that we really can build a global network of like-minded professionals, all working together toward painting the bigger picture. A piece of art that our founding mothers and fathers envisioned in the 70’s. (Insert green grass related marijuana pun here.)


Samuel Monsour

It truly moves me that I can have so many feelings about a dinner event that hasn’t even happened yet, and none of which have anything to do with actual cooking. The original purpose of this little blurb was to share the creative process of developing a dish using #TrashFish, but I think I’ll refrain.

This story ends here, on a much bigger note. This dinner isn’t just another dinner. Sure, the food will be delicious, and of course, “trash fish” will be utilized and promoted. But, way more than eating will be going on. Awareness will be raised. Commitments toward the movement will stay true. Bonds will be strengthened.

Let us remember that through nourishing our relationships we actively work toward growth, and spread the philosophy of the sustainability movement. I truly look forward to seeing all of you at the dinner and the seafood show, and am grateful to be on a card with 9 outstanding chefs.

***Teaser*** There will be at least 5 unsung heroes of the night: dogfish, Acadian redfish, hake, Atlantic Pollock, sea clam. (Sea raven and sculpin are available if any of the chefs want to step up to the plate.)

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Boston chefs and cooks work with unconventional grains

Last week 20+ chefs and cooks got together at Catalyst in Cambridge for a gathering of the Boston Local and an afternoon of pasta making with Chef William Kovel and Four Star Farms. Together in Kovel’s kitchen, we used unconventional local grains like spelt and corn to make two delicious pasta dishes:


Top L to R: Catalyst demonstrating their pasta extruder and making smoked spelt flour; A close-up of the gorgeous heirloom Rhode Island white flint corn flour (bottom left) from Four Star Farms, and some lobster roe stock (top left); Our Boston Locals enjoying the fruits of Catalyst’s labor!
Bottom L to R:  Corn flour and lobster roe pasta, pre-cooking; Chef William Kovel (R) and his staff talking with the group; The delicious, freshly made corn flour and lobster roe pasta. 

You can see the full set of pasta making photos on our Facebook page.

We’d love to see you at our next event! Whether you made it to the pasta demo or not, here are two ways you can get involved today:

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

New England Farm Burns Down, Community Rallies

This is a guest post from Jed Webber and Amy Severino of Webber Restaurant Group.

Blood Farm

Photo: Art Campbell

On the morning of Sunday December 29, 2013 Blood Farm in Groton, Massachusetts caught fire. The fire destroyed their meat processing facility, which was one of only two USDA-inspected meat processors in New England.  The Blood family has run the century-old facility for many generations and have a reputation for being clean and safe.

Nearby, Gibbet Hill Farm raises cattle and lamb. They used Blood Farm for processing its livestock. The ability to send the livestock a few miles away for processing, then back a few miles to the restaurant, which sits adjacent to the farm, is unheard of in the industry.

Throughout the region, farmers, restaurants, meat purveyors, and food lovers are all feeling the ripple effect of the fire, but no one has felt it worse than the employees who have been left without a job. Blood Farm will rebuild, but until then, these employees, many with specialized skills, are struggling to make ends meet.


Photo: Art Campbell

On Thursday, February 27, in support of their neighbor, Gibbet Hill Grill will host a fundraiser to benefit the employees of Blood Farm. 

We invite friends to come together for a reception at The Barn at Gibbet Hill. There will be a large selection of food and a cash bar. Other members of the Groton food and restaurant community are providing desserts: Bliss Bakery, The Blackbird Café, The Farm To Table Cafe at Groton Wellness, and The Main Street Café.

Entertainment will be provided by Groton-based Gary Wilson Blues Project, playing the blues, with special guest Julius Borges, noted Groton luthier and musician.

Please visit the Blood Farm Groton Ways to Help page for more information.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler