Chef on a Mission: Chef Todd Villani of Terre à Terre in Carlstadt Steps Up Sustainability Efforts

Sustainability in the food industry is a top trend to watch as more NJ Chefs step up and serve as the as the voice of sustainability in their communities. Many, including Chef Villani, are forging stronger ties with farmers, growing their own produce, seeking to transform their operations so they are more environmentally responsible, and educating guests about how and where their food is grown.

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Carlstadt, NJ (PRWEB) April 09, 2014

Today's chefs are more than culinary wizards - they are food advocates, environmentalists, conservationists, farmers, and educators. As consumers demand to know more about the food they're consuming - and to connect with the source of their food - Chef Todd Villani of Terre à Terre in Carlstadt is extending the restaurant's commitment to sustainability and green practices beyond the cuisine.

‘This is more than the ‘local’ movement,” says Villani. “Chefs are forging stronger ties with farmers, growing their own, seeking to transform their operations so they are more environmentally responsible, and educating their guests about how and where their food is grown. Many chefs and restaurateurs around the state share a similar mission, making for a dynamic trend that is helping change how we think about ‘local.’ From 5-star restaurants to local pizzerias, New Jersey chefs are focusing on local ingredients in their cuisine and we're pleased to be part of that movement.”

As Terre à Terre enters its sixth month of operation, its dedication to local is tested again and again. From the butter on the table, to the salt, the meat, fish and produce - to the very light fixtures that adorn the dining room, Chef Villani is working hard to push the movement. His commitment to sustainability is not only in the kitchen (and on the plate) but in his operation – the physical restaurant environment. The restaurant’s commitment to sustainability includes an eco-friendly environment through a dedicated effort to reduce of waste, to recycle, conserve water and generally pay more attention to its impact on the environment.

"We're always looking for ideas on how to conserve from our guests who don't hesitate to email us or call us with ways to be green," says Villani. “Terre à Terre already also has eco-friendly practices in place that help create a more sustainable environment, but our hope is that over time we can adopt more green practices,” adds Villani who points to a few of the restaurant’s green initiatives.

The restaurant is decorated with down-to-earth materials that include terracotta, woven linen and burlap, wood, twigs, birch bark, and other natural fibers. Most of the decor was handcrafted by artisans, and some, like the mason jar track lighting made from wood salvaged after Hurricane Sandy, the pallet table in our chef’s room, and the seating in the entry area were made using upcycled wood.

The restaurant has a durable yet sustainable menu holder made from birch wood planks bordered by natural bark that is kiln dried and not chemically treated; the seasonally rotating menus is attached using natural jute string. Since the menu changes so frequently, the paper is made out of hemp – not wood. Converting trees into paper uses large amounts of water, energy, and chemicals and generates vast amounts of air and water pollution.

Specials of the day and featured farms are posted daily on chalkboards, saving paper.

The restaurant has its own water-filtration system, serving water in reusable glass carafes instead of plastic water bottles and only upon request.

A company collects and recycles used cooking oil to convert into renewable fuel instead of getting thrown out.

Many of the furniture pieces and accessories all over the restaurant are painted with Chalk Paint – an eco-friendly paint that contains extremely low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

About Terre à Terre
In creating Terre à Terre, translated as down to earth, Chef Villani brings many years of restaurant experience working for some of Manhattan’s top restaurants, including Marcus Samuelsson’s renowned Aquavit restaurant and at his subsidiary interest, World Yacht, combining simple fresh foods with a creative blend of exotic flavors and ingredients – his signature approach to preparing foods with an international flair.

With nearly 50 seats, the restaurant offers a private dining area, an outdoor garden courtyard which will open this spring, and the Chef’s Table, which offers a multi-course gourmand tasting menu, Terre à Terre provides dining from Wednesday through Saturday 5:30 – 10:00 and on Sunday for brunch 11:00 – 2:30 p.m. In addition to private parties, the restaurant also does catering.

Terre à Terre is located at 312 Hackensack Street. For more information, or to learn more about the farmers and artisans supplying Terre à Terre, visit The restaurant takes reservations online at and by phone at 201.507.0500.