Chefs are Hands on and Taking Action in New Orleans for Chefs Collaborative’s Third Annual National Summit

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Three Culinary Heroes Receive Chefs Collaborative’s Sustainability Award and Nine culinary leaders are added to Pioneer’s Table

More than 300 chefs and members of the culinary community gathered in New Orleans, Oct. 23-25, for the Chefs Collaborative third Annual National Summit. The Collaborative, a national network of chefs changing the sustainable food landscape, was founded in 1993. The organization galvanizes and educates culinary professionals, from farmers and fishers to chefs and writers, on issues where food and sustainability intersect. Summit attendees fully embraced the conference theme of “Hands on New Orleans – Sustainability in Action” with four butchery workshops and demos, charcuterie and classic cocktail workshops, and numerous conversations and practical workshops on timely topics including grass-fed beef, Gulf seafood, dead zones, farm worker justice and climate change.

The centerpiece of this year’s National Summit was the Sustainability Awards dinner at the Riverview Room held last night featuring Mistress of Ceremonies, Poppy Tooker, guest speaker, author Jessica Harris, and a dinner prepared by Chef Adolfo Garcia of Rio Mar, and a team of some of the Crescent City’s best chefs.

The 2011 Sustainability Award winners, chosen by a panel of their esteemed culinary peers, are:

Chef Sam Hayward of Fore Street in Portland, Maine. Hayward was honored with the “Sustainer of The Year” award, which recognizes a chef who has been both a great mentor and a model to the culinary community through his purchases of seasonal, sustainable ingredients and the transformation of these ingredients into delicious food. "Sam has very quietly been doing this for a long time and has trained generations of chefs," said chef Michael Leviton of Lumiere and Area Four restaurants in Newton and Cambridge and chair of the Chefs Collaborative Board. "Not only that, but he has been a champion of a cuisine that is uniquely representative of Maine's bounty,” added Leviton.

Fedele Bauccio, founder and CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company (BAMCO) in Palo Alto, Calif. Bauccio received the “Pathfinder Award,” which recognizes 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. “This is a company that empowers its chefs to find creative ways to source, develop menus, motivate their staff and educate their customers,” said Melissa Kogut, executive director of Chefs Collaborative. “We’re impressed with Fedele’s vision and execution – once Bon Appetite Management is successful in one area of sustainability, they set new company-wide ambitious goals,” said Kogut.

Sal and Al Sunseri of P & J Oysters in New Orleans. Sal and Al Sunseri received the “Foodshed Champion Award,” which recognizes a food producer (farmer, fisher or artisanal producer) committed to working with chefs who also exemplifies the following principle: Good food begins with unpolluted air, land, and water, environmentally sustainable farming and fishing, and humane animal husbandry. “No institution has played a larger role in the advancement of south Louisiana's oyster industry than New Orleans' P&J Oyster Company, the oldest business of its kind in the United States,” said Kogut. “Since the oil spill, many are worried about the long-term sustainability of this important Louisiana business. P & J Oysters is working with amazing energy to ensure Louisiana oysters have a future," said Kogut.

“We were thrilled to recognize people in the food industry who have been doing outstanding work to positively and measurably impact the sustainable food landscape,” said Leviton.

Chefs Collaborative also added nine 2011 honorees to its “Pioneers Table,” which was established last year to recognize individuals who have made longstanding and exemplary efforts in transforming the sustainable food landscape. The Pioneers Table honorees, selected by the Chefs Collaborative Board, are true sustainable food pioneers who broke with tradition early on to pave the way for legions of chefs and culinary professionals. The 2011 honorees are:

  •     Founding Chefs Collaborative Board Members:

        - Chef Nora Pouillon, Restaurant Nora, Washington, DC
        - Chef Mary Sue Miliken, Border Grill, Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Calif.
        - Chef Jody Adams, Rialto, Cambridge, Mass.
        - Chef Deborah Madison, author, Santa Fe, NM
        - Chef Jasper White, Summer Shack, Cambridge, Mass.

  •     Past Chefs Collaborative Board Members:

        - Amy Bodiker, Food Systems Consultant, Columbus, Ohio
        - Robin Schempp, Right Stuff enterprises, Waterbury, VT
        - Chef Greg Higgins, Higgins Bar and Grill, Portland, OR
        - Gary Nabhan, author, food activist, and professor, Patagonia, Ariz.

The 2012 Chefs Collaborative National Summit will be hosted in Seattle, Wash.

About Chefs Collaborative
Founded in 1993, the Boston-based nonprofit a national network of chefs changing the sustainable food system.

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Melissa Kogut, executive director
Chefs Collaborative
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