[VIDEO] Piper Davis’ Oregon Filbert Honey Tart

Piper Davis, Chefs Collaborative Board Member and the Cuisine Director and Co-Owner of Grand Central Bakery in Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR added an Oregon Filbert Honey Tart recipe to The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook.

Toasted hazelnuts and honey custard fill the whole wheat crust of this delicious dessert, which is made from soft white flour that is grown and milled locally.

In the video below, Chef Davis shares her tips on how to fully absorb moisture to make a buttery and flaky whole wheat crust. After these tips, and the cookbook’s helpful section on Baking with Whole Grains, you’ll be able to bust the myth that whole wheat baked goods are less tasty!

Posted by: Hayley Fager

Weekly Member News Round-Up 10/7-13

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:

Posted by: Isabelle Levenson

Podcast: Chef Cathy Whims on Heirloom Grains, Summit

841The Chefs Collaborative Sustainable Food Summit is just three weeks away, in fact there are just 20 tickets left! And up until today, we’ve been focused on sharing information about the sessions that will be waiting for you – from a charcuterie workshop with Craig Deihl, to a media training, to hogonomics, to exploring how climate change will affect food professionals in the years ahead.

Today, we want to focus on the food. We are in for a real treat. Chefs in Charleston (and from across the country) are setting the scene for an incredible three days of meals. From a whole hog and oyster roast at the Maritime Center on Sunday night, to an heirloom grains breakfast, to a Gullah cuisine lunch at the Francis Marion Hotel, to a reception at the South Carolina Aquarium featuring 15 of Charleston’s most celebrated chefs – it’s going to be an experience! And we want to give you a sneak peek.

Summit Podcast Episode 2: Heirloom Grains with Chef Cathy Whims
Today’s Looking Back, Cooking Forward podcast follows our food theme, and features Chef Cathy Whims of Nostrana. Cathy is teaming up with Anson Mills and the Francis Marion hotel to serve up an heirloom grains breakfast:


Hear about what’s on the menu (from reezy peezy, to Terra Madre spoonbread cornmeal custard with four cheeses), explore the rise of gluten intolerance, and hear about what it was like to eat oysters with Ruth Reichl in Seattle last year.

And stay tuned for more menu sneak peeks in the days ahead!

Posted by: Alisha Fowler

Weekly Member News Round-Up 9/30-10/6

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:

Sustainability-focused events our members were involved in this past week:

  • Cider Tasting (Craig and Sharon Campbell’s Harmony Orchards, October 3)

Posted by: Isabelle Levenson

Podcast: What Would Don Draper Do?

At this year’s Sustainable Food Summit in Charleston, SC we will be looking back at cooking traditions of the Lowcountry while we explore the future of food. It’s no secret that the food system is broken, and the following speakers will focus on specific steps we need to take to ensure better quality food for everyone.

Ari Weinzweig, Scott Nichols, Peter Hoffman, Emile DeFelice, Urvashi Rangan, Jane Black, and Glenn Roberts are some of today’s leading voices on sustainability, and they will chair our panel on the Future of Food.

I sat down with Jane Black, food writer and featured speaker at the Summit, as she shared a sneak preview of her talk.

Podcast: Looking Back, Cooking Forward, Episode 1


This interview is the first in a series of podcasts that we have put together to highlight the themes of this year’s Summit. Don’t miss next week’s episode as we hear from some of Charleston’s own!

Posted by: Hayley Fager

Weekly Member News Round-Up 9/23-29

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:

Sustainability-focused events our members were involved in this past week:


Posted by: Isabelle Levenson

Weekly Member News Round-Up 9/16-22

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:

  • Urban Gardening Tips from Evan Hanczor (Sarah Zorn, The L Magazine, 9.11.13) Evan Hanczor gives gardening advice to those constrained by city living who want to maximize their produce yield while minimizing their waste.
  • Ocean acidification alters Pacific food web (Steve Brown, The Daily Astorian, 9.20.13) Member Eric Swenson of the Global Ocean Health Program stresses the importance of protecting our seafood sources from increasing acidification.
  • Westport Chef Cooks Up A Storm On New PBS Show (Eric Gendron, Westport Daily Voice, 9.21.13) Chef Bill Taibe was among those challenged to create meal for a large group using only fresh, local ingredients in a limited amount of time for “Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.”

Sustainability-focused events our members were involved in this past week:

Posted by: Isabelle Levenson

Making Sustainable Meat Work

“Cost is the elephant in the room,” said Derek Wagner, chef and owner of Nick’s on Broadway in Providence, Rhode Island. We were talking about the price differences between commodity meat and more sustainable choices, and chef Wagner, who uses only elephant-in-the-roomlocally sourced, sustainably raised, meats in his busy breakfast, lunch, and dinner service restaurant was lamenting the fact that there’s not often a frank conversation about just how much more it costs to make the responsible choice, and how as a business owner  he’s supposed to cope with that.

In this industry, making the right choice is often a balance of ideology and business economics, and proteins can be among chefs’ biggest challenges. Most chefs, when exposed to the sustainable alternatives to the pre-packaged commodity meat that comes from the big food companies understand, even with ideology put aside, that there’s a real gap in quality. As chef Bill Telepan, of Telepan in New York, points out the commodity stuff “is gross…I’m not going to go out and cultivate these great relationships with vegetable farmers and serve it with shit.”  But he admits that he has a loyal following and is in an affluent neighborhood so the decision to spend more on sustainable proteins is tempered by the knowledge that he can charge more for it without alienating his clientele.

So what’s your reality? Let’s be honest, we aren’t going to be able to give one answer for everyone out there. The answers are too varied and solutions are not going to come from a simple blog post. We’ve found from chefs that the answers come from real time connections with the others who are already working with sustainable proteins. This is why we put together our Local Networks and our annual Sustainable Food Summit–to provide chefs with the space to connect and share their knowledge and the knowledge of “experts.” That being said, we want to give you an example, and an example of someone you will be able to connect with this November at our Charleston Summit. So, let’s look at Craig Deihl, executive chef of Cypress restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, and a featured speaker at our upcoming Summit.

At Cypress, Craig tries to serve as much local and sustainable meats as possible, including heritage breed hogs. On busy nights he’ll push out between 450 and 530 covers, so he doesn’t just rely on local, whole-hogs. He also buys in “parts and pieces out of Iowa from a smaller group of farmers that co-op together.” By Craig’s estimation, this approach is can be a key to any chefs being craig-deihlsuccessful in making the switch to sustainable proteins. Don’t feel like you have to go “whole-hog” (or cow, or lamb, or chicken). Find alternatives where you can either buy pieces from a purveyor or find other chefs that will go in on whole animals or bulk ordering with you.

The second key to making it work for chef Diehl? An earnest “investment in time and skill.” Cypress has an impressive and extensive charcuterie program. Craig figures that when he buys in a whole hog he can pay for it more than five times over on the center cuts alone, everything else that comes out of the animal, including his charcuterie, is how he makes his money. It wasn’t just about saying, “hey, I’m gonna make some sausages,” he had to invest time in money in developing skills and systems that would truly utilize everything and provide a premium product coming out of the curing room. For one thing Craig had to get “very good at making emulsified sausages, whether they be hot dogs, bologna, or mortadella,” which allow him to use a 50/50 ratio of fat to lean and also makes it possible to grind in trim that has a high quantity of otherwise unusable connective tissue.

The answer for Craig echoes what Gramercy Tavern chef Michael Anthony had to say when we spoke to him about the higher cost of using sustainable proteins. He paraphrased the great Andre Soltner saying, “every restaurant is run by a combination of thrift and innovation.”

What’s the answer for you? We aren’t sure. Maybe you can find a nugget in the words here, but the real answers come from real connections with like-minded chefs.

Join us in Charleston on November 3-5th for our National Sustainable Food Summit. Here you can meet with chefs like Derek and Craig who are doing it, attend lectures and workshops that will help you understand how to take the next steps of sustainability in your kitchen, and you can even attend Craig’s breakout session “I Can Cure That,” to learn just how he makes delicious, money making charcuterie.

Posted by: Rob Booz

Member Post: Talking the Talk or Walking the Walk

This post was provided by CC member Chef John Sharpe, chef/owner of The Turquoise Room in Winslow, AZ.

Talking the talk – walking the walk! Which one are you?

Chef John Sharpe, The Turquoise Room

This question popped into my head after while ruminating on the challenges I have had recruiting a Chef des Cuisine for my restaurant.

I wonder if any of you can relate to this.

So you are asking, well who is this guy? I have been cooking since I was 15, starting my apprenticeship and catering school in Harrogate, England in the early 60s. Yes, I have been around a while. I will not bore you with my story.

In the winter of 2000 I arrived in Winslow, Arizona which is some 160 miles north of Phoenix and 65 miles east of Flagstaff in the high desert lands of Northern Arizona. We came to open a fine dining destination restaurant in the historic La Posada Hotel. We are still here 13 years later with a staff of 40 operating every day from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm! We survived 9/11 and the economic downturn of the past few years – we keep on trucking!

So back to the question.

In the course of my ongoing search for a Chef de Cuisine I have learned that everyone is neither who they seem to be, or who they think they are! Sound familiar?

I have struggled over the past 13 years to bring the local bounty to my guests. Hauling organic produce from Bob McClendon’s Farm in Peoria some 180 miles away almost every week during the winter months. Churro lambs raised for me on the Navajo reservation require me to drive 11 hours round-trip to pick them up at the processor in Durango.  Our local farmers market in Flagstaff is every Sunday morning at 8:00 am during the summer. I have had chefs come once or twice with me to the market, but the novelty wears off very fast. Oh get up at 6:00 am to leave at 7:00 on a Sunday; I think not, church is a-calling – yeah sure.

You get the picture. Then comes the inevitable question when I return with my refrigerated van loaded up with fresh veggies, fruits, foraged mushrooms, wild greens and so on. That looks nice, what is it? What do we do with this stuff? Oh you are changing the menu again; I thought you just did that on Thursday!

That is the fun and inspirational part of what I do on a weekly basis. It’s not the same as writing a menu and making up an order list to call in every day month in month out.

Sadly they do not “get it.” I have yet to find a chef that can embrace and appreciate what the challenge offers doing business like this. I am always so excited to see what’s on the market. It is the stuff that food dreams are made of. It gets my juices flowing early on a Sunday morning after a busy week. Looking to the week ahead and searching for the spark to light up the menu. So many choices, so many ideas to sort through I don’t know where to stop. Always know where to start but then there always seem more goodies available than I can work with.

Always wanting to do more, remembering just how much “talent” I have on the team. Coming back down to earth so as to create a new dish or two and at same time staying in the now and knowing what we can accomplish with the players on the team. Knowing where to set the bar so they can get over it and feel good, rather than stressing them out and setting them up to fail.

Can you relate?

I am looking forward to my trip to Charleston and spending some time with chefs who can relate to what I do every week. Maybe we can swap success stories and maybe the occasional horror story – after all it will be just after Halloween!

Just another day in Paradise!

John Sharpe
Chef /Owner
The Turquoise Room at La Posada, Winslow, Arizona

Are you a member with a great blog post idea? Send it to over to [email protected]!

Posted by: gillian

Member Spotlight: Sam Monsour


Q&A with Member Chef Sam Monsour, Executive Chef of JM Curley in Boston.

Can you describe your introduction to sustainability: when did you first start to think about sustainable practices in the kitchen and how did you start?

I was first introduced to the idea, importance and magnitude of sustainability while studying at The Culinary Institute of America. Part of my program was a month long food and beverage seminar that toured us all over California. I was 21, and had never been to the west coast. The idea of sustainability was very new to me, and it seemed like everyone we met was embracing its principles. Since then, I’ve tried to apply these principles to my life as best as possible, but I still have so much room for improvement. As a professional, I am new to command, and running my first kitchen. Since day one, I have tried my hardest to implement sustainable practices across the board. Developing sustainable business practices with a 360 degree outlook truly is a learning process. Like the life that we are working to sustain, my program is constantly growing!

What size restaurant are you operating?

Currently, the restaurant that I am operating has two outlets: jm Curley is a 100 seat barroom, and Bogie’s Place is a 22 seat boutique steakhouse.

How would you describe your restaurant?

Our establishment is quite unique. We offer a full spectrum of classic American cuisine, everything from ketchup to caviar. With the food program, I do my best to honor the heritage of the American restaurant, as well as offer an interesting array of regionally distinct cuisine. I’m also trying to push the envelope on what comfort/junk food is by reinventing America’s favorite flavor profiles and food items using local, seasonal foods coming from farms and companies that operate with love, care and integrity. Perfect example: Flamin’ Hot Pig’s Ear Cheetos.

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


My framework is simple. Every choice I make has a footprint x1000 of what an individual has. So, it’s extremely important that I pay attention to everything that I am doing, and ask a lot of questions. Who is picking up my used fryer oil, and what are they doing with it? How far is my produce traveling, and how much fossil fuel is being burned to get it to me? What farm is my meat coming from, and what are their practices? Are they humane? Which leads me to a funny yet very serious point. I don’t just believe in treating livestock humanely, I think that we should treat humans that way too. To me, sustainability promotes health, longevity and the cycle of life. As restaurant operators, chefs must consider the happiness and health of their employees as part of the sustainable philosophy as well.

Can you describe a sustainability challenge you’ve overcome?

Sourcing direct from local farmers. It is one of the biggest challenges I am faced with. Supplies are not as steady, billing can be much trickier as some farms are very small and require COD, and most farms don’t have a website, so it’s really all word of mouth. Once you crack the shell, it gets much easier. Relationships start to grow, as does your knowledge of local farms. You have to be flexible, and lend yourself to the farmer, their land, their animals, but, it’s always worth it when the farmer drops off their amazing, cared for product.

What do you still have to conquer, or what’s next?

This is embarrassing, but I am currently working on the implementation of recycling. We have really dropped the ball on this in the past, and as an entire restaurant team, our morale is down and out. Recycling is something that is important to all of us, and we look forward to soon having a system in place where our waste can be managed with tomorrow in mind. After that, we will look to composting.

I’m best known for my burger (best in Boston baby!) but I can make one heck of a 7 piece chicken nugget (they’re organic).

Posted by: Hayley Fager