PDX Trash Fish Makes Headlines

On November 10, chefs Cathy Whims (Nostrana and Oven & Shaker), PJ Yang (Bamboo Sushi), Kelly Myers (Xico), and Kevin Gibson (Evoe) got together in Porltand, OR to host a Trash Fish Dinner at Whims’ Nostrana.

Today, Portland’s OPB radio station featured the dinner:

Wolf Eel (photo credit: Dan Hershman)

Wolf Eel (photo credit: Dan Hershman)

“This is a Wolf Eel. It may not look particularly appealing but some chefs and environmentalists want you to consider eating it. Kelly Myers is the chef at Xico and she says it tastes great — and it’s not even actually an eel. She’s part of the Chefs Collaborative that’s aiming to both expand the American palate and save some vulnerable fish populations.”  Click here to continue reading or listening.

See below for a photo of Chefs Collab Board Member Piper Davis talking with Trash Fish attendees. Thank you chefs for a great supper!

Piper Davis of Grand Central Baking, Chef's Collaborative board member.  Credit: Allison Frost / OPB

Piper Davis of Grand Central Bakery, Chefs Collaborative board member.
Credit: Allison Frost / OPB

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

The 5th Annual Chefs Collaborative Sustainable Food Summit Announces 2013 Food Heroes


Melissa Kogut, executive director
617-970-5613 (mobile)

The 5th Annual Chefs Collaborative Sustainable Food Summit

Announces 2013 Food Heroes

– Chef Rick Bayless named National Sustainer 2013 –

CHARLESTON, SC — (November 4, 2103) Hundreds of chefs and food activists from around the country gathered here this week at the sold-out Chefs Collaborative Sustainable Food Summit to connect and share strategies, ideas and practices for transforming our broken food system. The 20 year old nonprofit, whose mission is to make sustainable food choices second nature to chefs everywhere, unveiled its new slogan at the conference:  “Change Menus. Change Minds.”

Chef Sean Brock of McCrady’s and Husk restaurants, Chef Michael Ruhlman, author of Soul of a Chef and other books, Chef Rick Bayless, cookbook author and co-owner of Frontera Grill and Topolabampo restaurants, and Kim Severson of The New York Times were among many speakers who addressed the theme: Looking Back, Cooking Forward.

“At the end of the day, we all need to stop making excuses, and make the right decisions,” said Brock, when asked by Severson about his commitment to hyper local ingredients for his restaurants. “We [chefs] have the ability to educate a few hundred people a day, and we do that through the power of food.”

Today, Chef Michel Nischan of Wholesome Wave foundation and Dressing Room restaurant in Westport, CT, announced the 2013 Sustainability Awards honorees at a lunchtime ceremony at Lowndes Grove.

For more information about the Sustainability Awards, visit our website: http://www.chefscollaborative.org/sustainable-food-summit/national-summit-2013/2013-sustainability-awards/.

The following heroes in the sustainable food movement were recognized with a Sustainabilty Award honoring  leaders for exemplary work positively transforming our food system:

Chef Rick Bayless, a founding board member of Chefs Collaborative, is the 2013 National Sustainer.

“All that Rick does, from continuing to reinvent his business to the Frontera Farmer Foundation, makes me feel like I’m not doing enough,” said Chef Michael Leviton, of Lumiere and Area Four restaurants in the Boston Area and chair of the Chefs Collaborative Board.

Chef Anne Quatrano, owner of Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, Star Provisions, Provisions to go, Quinones at Bacchanalia, Abattoir in Atlanta, is the 2013 Southeast Sustainer for mentoring countless young cooks and communicating a strong sustainability ethic.

Will Harris, president of White Oak Pastures, in Bluffton, GA, is the 2013 Foodshed Champion, for setting the gold standard for humane animal production.

Glenn Roberts, founder and partner of Anson Mills, Columbia, SC, is recipient of the Pathfinder Award for being a singular leader in the movement to restore heritage grains to their rightful place as a centerpiece of our food supply.

“There’s never been a better time to be a chef.  This is a Golden Age for us,” said Ruhlman.

Next year the Collaborative will host its national Sustainable Food Summit in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about Chefs Collaborative and the national Sustainable Food Summit, please visit www.chefscollaborative.org.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Weekly Member News Round-Up 10/28-11/3

Chefs Collaborative members do amazing work every day – check out our weekly members news link round-up to see what’s going on around the country:

  • Steve Geddes leaves Local 127 (Polly Campbell, Cincinnati.com, 10.28.13) Although Steve Geddes is returning West and leaving Local 127, he says, “It was a joy and privilege to be part of such a great community of local farmers, growers and the Cincinnati dining community.”
  • From the Ivory Tower Kitchen: We Can Do It. We Must Do It. (Hari Pulapaka, Huffington Post, 10.29.13) Hari Pulapaka discusses how a lack of understanding about the dangers that are engulfing regional and global food systems will ultimately harm our generation and how we must “produce better food that is accessible, affordable, just and fair.”
  • Chef Barton Seaver’s Warm and Well-Stocked Rental Kitchen (Cambria Bold, The Kitchn, 10.29.13) Barton Seaver shares his belief that simplicity is essential when cooking, for the simpler the food, the better the meal, the easier the clean up, and the more incentivized you are to buy fresh food from a local farmer’s market.
  • John Ash: Ultimate chef masters poultry (Rayne Wolfe, The Reporter, 11.1.13) John Ash produced a new cookbook, “Culinary Birds: The Ultimate Poultry Cookbook,” that features insight into the best way to put poultry on the table, including the vital step of sourcing your meat and eggs locally.
  • A Q&A With “Top Chef” Judge Hugh Acheson (Anna Spiegel, Washingtonian, 11.1.13) Hugh Acheson discusses his latest projects, which include a cookbook titled Eat Well that will be a look at how to use everything in your CSA box.
  • A talk with maverick chef Nischan (Charles Stuart Platkin, News-Sentinel, 11.2.13) Michel Nischan is interviewed, and he asserts his dedication to being a catalyst for change in the sustainable food movement.


Posted by: Isabelle Levenson

Weekly Member News Round-Up 10/21-27

Chefs Collaborative members do amazing work every day – check out our weekly members news link round-up to see what’s going on around the country:

  • Tacos By The Sea (Margarita Martinez, WGBH, 10.11.13) Jake Rojas’ commitment to sourcing the freshest tasting and most local ingredients available is highlighted in this piece about his innovative and creative food preparations. 
  • UC Blue Ash hosts presentation by noted food expert (Cincinnati.com, 10.21.13) On October 30, UC Blue Ash College will host Barry Estabrook, who will discuss issues such as industrial agriculture and its production of tomatoes that are void of taste and nutrition.
  • Town House chef closes in on Georgetown (Washington Business Journal, 10.21.13) John Shields and his wife, who are known for their work at Town House with often exotic, but local, ingredients, will be opening a new restaurant in Georgetown.
  • Rick Bayless heads to college (Mariah Craddick, Crain’s Chicago Business, 10.21.13) Rick Bayless will open Tortas Frontera at the University of Pennsylvania. The establishment will rely on local foods and produce from nearby farms.
  • Justin Devillier talks Top Chef New Orleans (Will Coviello, Gambit Weekly, 10.22.13) Justin Devillier relates the Top Chef competition to experiences he has had improvising recipes in his restaurant with the local produce he is supplied from farmers.
  • Josh Lewin on His Current Favorites (Eater Boston, 10.22.13) Josh Lewin responds to inquiries about his current favorites, and he discusses local ingredients, trips to the farmer’s market, and seasonal menu changes.
  • Plenty of pumpkins (Ramelle Bintz and Samantha Hernandez, Green Bay Press Gazette, 10.23.13) For Schartner’s Farm Market, this year’s crop of pumpkins may be the best they’ve seen in eight years.
  • Four-Cheese Polenta with Chanterelle Ragout (The Wall Street Journal, 10.25.13) Cathy Whims shares a recipe that contains one of her favorite seasonal ingredients, chanterelle mushrooms, which grow prolifically around Portland.

Posted by: Isabelle Levenson

Sustainability Awards Finalists: Pathfinder

2013SummitLogo_WebWe are so pleased to announce the finalists for the 2013 Sustainability Awards!

The Awards recognize individuals who have played an exemplary role in transforming our food system. This year, there are four awards: Southeast Sustainer, Foodshed Champion Southeast, Pathfinder, and National Sustainer.

Today, we’re thrilled to share our finalists for the Pathfinder Award. This award honors a visionary working in the greater food community who has been a catalyst for positive change within the food system through efforts that go beyond the kitchen. Finalists are:

  • Bill Niman
    • Rancher and Proprietor, BN Ranch, Bolinas, CA
  • Urvashi Rangan
    • Toxicologist and Environmental Health Scientist, Consumer Reports, Yonkers, NY
  • Glenn Roberts

We hope you’ll join us to help honor these outstanding leaders for change in our food system!  Check our website for more information about the Summit or the awards.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Sustainability Awards Finalists: Foodshed Champion Southeast

2013SummitLogo_WebWe are so pleased to announce the finalists for the 2013 Sustainability Awards!

The Awards recognize individuals who have played an exemplary role in transforming our food system. This year, there are four awards: Southeast Sustainer, Foodshed Champion Southeast, Pathfinder, and National Sustainer. Over the next four days, we’ll announce the finalists for each award, starting with the Southeast Sustainer Award.

The Foodshed Champion Southeast honors a food producer (farmer, fisher, artisanal producer) committed to working with chefs and who exemplifies the following principle:  Good food begins with unpolluted air, land, and water, environmentally sustainable farming and fishing, and humane animal husbandry.

The finalists for Foodshed Champion Southeast are:

Celeste Albers

Dave Belanger

Will Harris

Mark Marhefka

  • Captain, Abundant Seafood
  • Charleston, SC

Nick Pihakis

Stay tuned as we announce the finalists for Pathfinder, and National Sustainer this week! Click here to see who”s up for Southeast Sustainer. You can also follow our live announcements each day at 2:00PM on Twitter.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Podcast: Kevin Mitchell on Gullah Cuisine

In just 12 days, we’re  heading to Charleston for our annual Sustainable Food Summit. In preparation, we are bringing you a multi-part podcast to address the themes of the event! Stay tuned as we hear from the chefs, speakers, and farmers who will be at the summit, along with some voices of Charleston’s own.

With the Summit only a few weeks away, we want to give you a sneak peak of what’s on the menu, and this episode is all about Gullah cuisine.

Joining me is Chef Kevin Mitchell of the Culinary Institute of Charleston. He’ll tell us about the Gullah lunch that he and Charlotte Jenkins, of Gullah Cuisine, have planned for Summit attendees.


In this episode, we explore the connection between Gullah cuisine and charcuterie, and find out what exactly goes into fish head stew.  Nothing goes to waste when it comes to Gullah cooking, which makes Charleston the perfect place for our Sustainable Food Summit this November.

Stay tuned for next week’s episode as we hear from Charleston’s own Executive Chef Drew Hedlund of Fleet Landing!

Posted by: Hayley Fager

Sustainability Awards Finalists: Southeast Sustainer

2013SummitLogo_WebWe are so pleased to announce the finalists for the 2013 Sustainability Awards!

The Awards recognize individuals who have played an exemplary role in transforming our food system. This year, there are four awards: Southeast Sustainer, Foodshed Champion Southeast, Pathfinder, and National Sustainer. Over the next four days, we’ll announce the finalists for each award, starting with the Southeast Sustainer Award.

The Southeast Sustainer Award honors a chef in the Southeast who has been both a great mentor and is a model to the culinary community through his/her purchases of seasonal, sustainable ingredients and the transformation of these ingredients into delicious food.

The finalists for the Southeast Sustainer are:

Frank Lee

Bill Smith

Frank Stitt

Anne Quatrano

Stay tuned as we announce the finalists for Foodshed Champion Southeast, Pathfinder, and National Sustainer this week! You can follow our live announcements each day at 2:00PM on Twitter.

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Weekly Member News Round-Up 10/14-20

Chefs Collaborative members do amazing work every day – check out our weekly members news link round-up to see what’s going on around the country:

  • How to eat fish with less guilt (James Bruggers, courier-journal.com, 10.14.13) Watch this video featuring Barton Seaver, who discusses a consumer’s options when faced with the reality that 85% of the world’s fisheries are either fished to capacity or overfished.
  • Savannah Food & Wine Festival Returning to Georgia (Elsa Saatela, The Daily Meal, 10.14.13) Look out for cooking demonstrations at the Savannah Food & Wine Festival by Hugh Acheson, Chris Hastings, and Steven Satterfield and also for a Farm to Table Wine Dinner at the kick off of the festival, which will be November 11 to 17.
  • Solvang School Chef Awarded National Honor (Dave Alley, Central Coast News, 10.15.13) Solvang Elementary School chef Bethany Markee has earned a national award that recognizes her innovative use of nutritious food in school lunches. Markee is known for using locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables in the meals she serves to students and for receiving 14,000 lbs of produce from local farmers each year.
  • How California Revolutionized Food (Cynthia Salaysay, East Bay Express, 10.16.13) Joyce Goldstein discusses how local chefs and artisans sparked a nationwide food movement in her new book, Inside the California Food Revolution.
  • Porks and Knives: Nov 3-8 (Jan Buhrman, Kitchen Porch) Look out for Jan Buhrman’s Porks and Knives event coming up in November on Martha’s Vineyard that will work to bring people closer to locally raised animals and make accessible the traditional and fair methodology for transforming livestock onto the dinner plate.
  • Top chefs on their worst reviews (Terry Durack and Jill Dupleix, stuff.co.nz, 10.16.13) Thomas Keller is one of a few distinguished chefs discussing their worst reviews, but Keller also comments on whether chefs have the capacity to change public opinion.
  • Best Bites: The Dressing Room (Nicholas O’Connell, The Mirror, 10.16.13) Michel Nischan’s The Dressing Room earns rave reviews not only for its food but also for its support of the sustainable food movement and farm-to-table cooking.
  • Interview with Maverick Chef Michel Nischan (Charles Platkin, WBAY, 10.16.13) Check out this interview with Michel Nischan that cites him not only as a maverick chef but also as an advocate for improving our food system due to his support of sustainable farming, local and regional food systems, and heritage recipes.
  • The Fish You Can’t Eat Anywhere Else (Francine Maroukian, Esquire, 10.13) Estuarycentric chefs like Mike Lata, Donald Link, and Bill Taibe are featured in this article about their shared passion for the chance to “stand in the mud with local watermen to source tonight’s dinner.”
  • Chefs do New Hampshire proud in the Big Apple (Rachel Forrest, Seacoastonline, 10.17.13) Mark Segal describes how a community of chefs has developed that share long term goals and philosophies concerning their local resources and their participation within the Seacoast area.
  • Sweet Home Cooking Alabama (Sam Sifton, The New York Times, 10.18.13) Frank Stitt’s the Highlands Bar and Grill is profiled and cited as one of the first “farm-to-starched-tablecloth” restaurants in America.
  • High-end restaurant’s scraps feed barnyard animals (Heather McPherson, Orlando Sentinel, 10.20.13) Hari Pulapaka gives his food scraps to a local farmer to use as feed, creating an exchange of resources that acts a a natural extension of Pulapaka’s efforts to source products locally and to decrease his carbon footprint within the food chain.


Posted by: Isabelle Levenson

Member Spotlight: Chef David Hugo, Shelburne Farms

David Hugo Photo Credit Vera Chang

Photo credit: Vera Chang

This month we talked with Chef David Hugo, Executive Chef and Food Services Director at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont, to learn more about how a chef on a farm deals with sustainable practices.

Tell us about Shelburne Farms.

Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit education organization integrated with a 1,400-acre working farm and forest on the shores of Lake Champlain in Shelburne, Vermont. The farm works with educators, schools, and partners to offer learning experiences that inspire a culture of sustainability in the state, nationally, and internationally.

We see 150,000 visitors a year on-site alone. Shelburne Farms is regional lead for the Northeast Farm to School Network, coordinator of the Vermont Farm to School Network, a partner in Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED), backbone organization to the Farm-Based Education Network, and a partner with the Vermont Department of Agriculture and others on a recently awarded federal grant to strengthen agriculture and culinary tourism on Vermont farms. To support these efforts, as well as professional development for teachers and public programs, Shelburne Farms has several enterprises: a Certified Humane grass-based dairy and award-winning farmstead cheese operation, a seven-acre organic market garden, pastured meats, sustainable forestry, a seasonal inn, and our farm-to-table restaurant and food truck.

Everything we do at the farm is about the four E’s of sustainability: environment, economy, equity, and education. The inn and restaurant, for example, have a dual purpose: we’re a site for educational workshops, as well as revenue-generators for the nonprofit’s education for sustainability work.

What is, in your opinion, the best thing you grow?

Feast of the FIeld, Photo Credit Vera Chang

Photo credit: Vera Chang

At Shelburne Farms, we say that education is our biggest crop. Shelburne Farms is like no place I’ve worked before. The farm brings together the farm to table and farm to school movements; agriculture, craftsmanship, and the culinary arts; culture and place; chefs, farmers, and educators. The restaurant is here to serve amazing food and help people make connections to where their food comes from. But at the end of the day, we are serving the farm’s education for sustainability programs — programs that are about building a healthier future for communities and the planet. All of the proceeds from the inn and restaurant go towards Shelburne Farms’ farm-based education, farm to school, and other education for sustainability work.

As Executive Chef, I feel responsibility to show the young people, teachers, and others that come through the farm that chefs care about where and how food is produced. In addition to being a chef, I enjoy teaching people about maple sugaring, bringing culinary arts into the farm’s agritourism initiatives, and joining summer campers in our market garden. The fact that our food truck is right next to our educational children’s farmyard is a great farm to plate conversation starter.

If I had to pick the best thing we grow food-wise, the lamb is amazing. Our lamb is pasture-raised, never fed grain, and moved to fresh grass every other day. They’re healthy throughout their lives, which comes through in the flavor. This year, the cauliflower coming out of the Market Garden has been phenomenal. They’re enormous with really tight heads and packed full of flavor. Recently, we’ve been having fun making things like barbecued pulled lamb and cauliflower gratin.

What do you still have to conquer or what’s next for you on the farm?

The farm is an incredible outdoor classroom. Geology field trips take place on the lakeshore, forestry workshops in our woodlands, soil fertility classes in our gardens, etc. We’d love to create an indoor kitchen classroom space, as well as a separate catering kitchen. Built in the 19th Century, the inn kitchen was originally designed to feed just the inn. During the season, May-October, we serve breakfast and dinner daily at the restaurant. But the farm continues to expand its educational programs and we recently added our lunchtime food truck, so there’s increased demand for classes, catering, and food storage. We want to create more connections and opportunity to gather around food. Food is an integral part of the farm and our programs.

You’re not only a chef but also involved in food production around the farm. How does being a producer affect your work as a chef?

David Hugo and Josh Carter Photo Credit Vera Chang 2

Photo credit: Vera Chang

Being close to the source of all the meals I prepare continually deepens my relationship with the seasons and inspires me to be an even more flexible and creative chef every day. My team coordinates slaughter dates and then breaks down and stores whole animals, using as much as we can. We work with what’s available at any given time, whether the market garden is trialing sea berries or has a bumper crop of sweet peppers. Throughout the season and over the winter, the head market gardener and I sit down and crop plan. We talk about the things that worked and what we might like to be different next time. Perhaps more squash blossoms, tarragon, and basil and smaller patty-pans. Days that I’m not in the kitchen, some of the chefs and I tap maple trees and sugar, milk our Brown Swiss cows, fix farm equipment, harvest from our kitchen herb garden, and forage for ramps, fiddleheads, garlic mustard, lion’s mane, and other wild edibles. As a chef, it feels important to me to be involved in the production-side of food. I grew up on a farm, so all of this feels natural to me.

How do you apply sustainable practices on a daily basis? What’s your framework for making choices?

We grow as much of our own food as we can. ¾ of our food at the restaurant and food truck comes from Vermont and half of that comes from our own pastures, fields, and cheesemaking room. Each season, we raise approximately 80-100 lambs, 18 beef cows, and 12 pigs; produce 100 gallons of maple syrup; use 20,000 pounds of our farmhouse cheddar cheese; and rely on over $72,000 worth of organic vegetables, mushrooms, berries, and fruit from the market garden.

Shelburne Farms follows the IFOAM definition of organic, diversified farming practices. We believe this best supports a healthy food system as well as an inspiring learning environment for students, teachers, the community, and public. Animal welfare is also important to us. Our dairy was the first one in VT to be Certified Humane by Humane Farm Animal Care. We make sure our equipment is energy efficient, milk is rBGH-free, and coffee and chocolate are fair trade. We don’t buy a lot of seafood since we’re inland in Vermont, and we have a lot of great meat and produce here, but when we do, we follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch’s green list, as well as talk to our fishmongers about their practices.

Can you describe a sustainability challenge you’ve overcome?

We generate ~18 tons of food scraps every year. Up until a few years ago, we were pretty much throwing our kitchen food scraps into a big compost pile in order to divert it from the landfill. In 2010, we invested in and improved our farm composting system. We worked with Highfields Center for Composting for recommendations and technical assistance on getting our nitrogen:carbon ratios right to produce certified organic compost. Just as we follow recipes and balance flavors and ingredients for great dishes, we now do the same for our compost - - we balance a mix of food scraps, wood chips, hay, and leaves in order to break things down quickly and generate high enough heat to kill weed seeds. We now have organized compost windrows that are turned couple of times throughout the season. Instead of it taking several years for our food scraps to break down and be usable, we have fluffy, new soil ready to be put back in the market garden by the end of the season.

Executive Chef David Hugo Photo Credit Vera Chang

Photo Credit: Vera Chang

Why is Shelburne a member of Chefs Collaborative?

Our missions align. Chefs Collaborative harnesses the power of community, education, and socially responsible decisions to create a culture around sustainability through producer-chef connections and the restaurant world. At Shelburne Farms, we’re working to transform the field of education and our food landscape. We appreciate the work of the Chefs Collaborative in helping shift our culture to one that places a higher value on local economies, biodiversity, and traditional practices.

Anything else you’d like to add?

The Inn at Shelburne Farms reopens May 9, 2014. Check out our menus and programs online. You can also follow the farm on Facebook and Twitter.


Want to be in our next member spotlight? Email our Membership Coordinator, Gillian Gurish and let her know!

Posted by: gillian