Category: Sustainable Practices

Seasonal Servings: Top 3 Summer Food Trends Direct from our Kitchens

Summer is here! Time to revamp menus to reflect the lighter, refreshing foods and ingredients of the season. We’re diving into summer with great ideas from our culinary R&D Specialist, Amanda Webb, and her team. Let’s see what seasonal superstar dish components and food trends they’ve uncovered. Farro. This Mediterranean grain is quickly becoming a popular alternative to couscous and other small grain pastas. Farro’s consistency proves perfect for incorporating into salads and soups as it really envelops the flavors added to it. This summer, expect to see farro as a nutritious addition to green salads with spinach, kale and arugula,… read more

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Green Roofing: The Benefits. The Process. The Pitfalls.

In our quest to continually strive for sustainability, we have the good fortune of meeting some really interesting, knowledgeable industry folks who are willing to share their expertise and work collectively towards a better future for us all. With that, we recently met Kim Fritzke, Marketing Director at Gordon Contractors and were intrigued by her knowledge and passion for green roofing. As Gordon Contractors have reportedly installed more green roofs in the greater DC-metropolitan area than any other contractor and are currently working on a 5,000 sq. ft. green roof installation at DC’s National Museum of African American History and… read more

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Make Your Mark: Earth Day 2015

Mark your calendars. Earth Day is: April 22. As this year marks the 45th anniversary of this global environmental movement, it’s a great time to make your mark in support of Earth Day by having your staff and even guests get in on the movement. The Earth Day Network (EDN) reports that it works with 22,000 organizations in 192 countries on various Earth Day campaigns such as: Climate Voters Education (promotes climate change initiatives) Billion Acts of Green® (secures a sustainable future) The Canopy Project (protects & preserves our natural lands) Green Schools (provides educators with green practices information/resources to… read more

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On the Farm: VSAG BarnStorming 101

What better way to pave the road to sustainability than developing a working farm to supply product to your restaurant… and beyond? As curious, inquisitive restaurant consultants we’re always looking for new, exciting opportunities to improve upon our client’s businesses and poise them (i.e. you) for growth and long-term success. We wanted to share a recent information gathering “BarnStorming” (yes, we believe we coined this farm-related term) session we conducted for our Farmers Restaurant Group client Founding Farmers restaurants. Our goal was to not only investigate opportunities to take their already successful farm-to-table concept to the next level, but to… read more

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Dan Simons Speaks to the NRA On the Importance of Reducing Food Waste

It’s no secret that we are firm believers in advising our clients on the importance of reducing overall restaurant and hospitality business food waste with new, innovative techniques and ideas* on repurposing ingredients and strategic sourcing. We’ve successfully counseled Farmers Restaurant Group and Founding Farmers restaurants, one of our concept development and restaurant management clients, on many sustainability areas. Not only are their restaurants dedicated to environmentally-friendly practices at every turn, the flagship Washington, D.C. location was the city’s first LEED Gold Certified restaurant with certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The restaurant has also been named a Certified… read more

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VSAG on Waste Watch: Reduce Food Waste with New Toolkit

As we continue to champion waste reduction and applaud restaurant industry efforts to do so, we thought we’d highlight a recent discovery that takes positive steps for reducing food waste piling into America’s landfills every day. Because the concern isn’t going away soon, there are some helpful resources and tools to aid businesses in their efforts to reduce waste and negative impacts on the earth. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) has created a Toolkit that is a product of the combined forces of the manufacturing, retail, and restaurant industries (namely the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute & National Restaurant… read more

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National Sustainable Food Summit: An Overview of the Effort

Sustainability. Responsibility. Real Food. The future of the restaurant industry has arrived as chefs, restaurateurs, food & beverage managers, and hospitality consultants join forces to bring diners great food, from great, sustainable sources. And the visionaries at Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit pioneer of the sustainable food movement, are dedicated to doing just that. Ahead of its time when founded in 1993 by a group of noted chefs (incl: John Ash, Rick Bayless, Susan Feniger, Nobu Matsuhita, Nora Pouillon, Michael Romano, and Alice Waters), Chefs Collaborative aimed to use knowledge and influence to raise awareness and educate guests (and the global food… read more

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The Do’s & Don’ts of Designing Food Service Spaces

Design is such an important element in bridging the gap between your eatery’s overall culinary concept and the guest experience. Good design means good experiences, and that means returning guests and the attraction of new ones. Whether planning for a cutting edge hotel lounge, a romantic, ethereal cafe, a large urban dining destination or a small eatery within a market place, the physical design sets the tone of the space. The design should seamlessly combine form, function, and creativity, while effortlessly blending the synergy of the food, the flow of the restaurant, and the experience you wish your guest to… read more

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Get REAL! US Healthful Food Council Launches New Program

Get REAL … certification, that is. Here are some informational facts about the REAL program. What Does REAL Stand For? Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership. Who Started REAL? The Washington D.C. based United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting obesity, diabetes and other food related diseases, which created the REAL certification program to increase public access to healthful, affordable and sustainable food and beverages within the restaurant and food service industry. What is REAL Certification? It is the first national nutrition and sustainability best practices, nutrition analysis, menu labeling and recipe consulting certification… read more

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Earth Day 2013: Support Our Environment And Our Future

Each April 22nd more than a billion (yes, a billion!) people around the world participate in Earth Day events, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Designed to broaden global support for environmental programs and education, rekindle public and policy commitment, and build community activism through a broad range of events and activities, Earth Day brings people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities together with one common interest: A commitment to protecting our environment and building a better future. This year marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Over the years as global coverage of environmental issues, such… read more

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