Bon Appétit nourishes Silicon Valley cafeterias with locally-farmed food
SmartPlanet takes a tour of Yahoo's kitchen to see the sustainable options, food management company Bon Appétit has implemented. Innovations include locally farmed food options, a low carbon diet calculator that measures your food intake against your carbon footprint, and a food dehydrator that converts excess food scraps into mulch.
>> Speaker one: Bon Appetite, a food sourcing company is hoping to change the way we eat at the office by providing sustainable food options on the job. The company is popular in Silicon Valley with businesses like Oracle, Cisco, and Yahoo using its service. In 1999, Bon Appetite started its farm to fork program. The goal was to purchase its food ingredients from local farmers and growers within a 150 mile radius from where people eat their food. Helene York is director of strategic partnerships at the company.
>> Speaker two: The idea was that food that was picked yesterday is going to taste better than food that was picked, you know, three weeks ago and has been traveled and warehoused and refrigerated and had a lot of things done to it. So we know where a lot of our food is coming from. We know it's fresh picked. We know it's in season, and that extends more than just the produce. It's also seafood. It's also meat.
>> Speaker one: One example is these fresh chili rellenos. Chef Bob Hart is a Bon Appetite chef hired to oversee Yahoo's kitchen.
>> Speaker three: We've got a sea of chilies that Sam has roasted and stuffed with some local potatoes, pureed with a little bit of scallion, butter, and some cheese. He's going to roll in the flour, dip them in egg whites, and deep fry them. These all come from Swank Farms. Both of the potatoes and the sea of chilies came from Swank Farms which is about 75 miles south of here.
>> Speaker one: Chef Bob also grows fresh herbs on the company grounds and uses a food dehydrator for excess food scraps.
>> Speaker three: We take food wastes. We've got fish scraps, some herbs that weren't so nice, some herb trimmings. So we take it. We open up the top of the hopper, and we simply dump it in.
>> Speaker three: We close it. And we hit the start button. So magically 18 hours later we'll end up with this. So it literally is dehydrating the food.
>> Speaker one: Another important initiative the company of implementing is their low carbon diet calculator. For instance, how does the food you eat effect global warming and your carbon footprint?
>> Speaker two: Let's take a popular lunch item, a cheeseburger. This is a four ounce burger on a bun with some cheese. Drag and drop it into the skillet, and you can see that the thermometer on the right rises to almost 3,000 carbon points. And it tells you that this is a very high carbon food. A contrast, let's take a grilled chicken sandwich, and it is less than one-fifth the intensity. So if you want to make a choice, you've got two really great tasting options in front of you. A grilled chicken sandwich is going to be one-fifth the intensity of a cheeseburger.
>> Speaker one: Companies like Yahoo have responded to the innovation created by Bon Appetite positively. But Yahoo also pays a premium to serve locally farmed food to its employees. And in a tough economic environment, the case could be made to cut back on healthy choices to help the bottom line.
>> Speaker four: The economy brings a little bit more consideration on the employee's part, but they notice when they go inside they're getting really high quality food at a pretty affordable price. And the focus is always on health and quality food, not necessarily just on price.
>> Speaker one: And the execs at Bon Appetite insist in the end, it's smart business.
>> Speaker two: I think the folks who eat at this cafe and a lot of others know value when they see it. This is really a fine dining experience. For 5.75 for lunch, that's a great deal. So a lot of folks see us as providing a great nourishing lunch, and that's value that they're willing to invest in pretty much everyday.
>> For Smart Planet, I'm Cindy Doss.
==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====