Agricultural sustainability is multifaceted. In the culinary sphere, it means instituting processes that allow us to provide for the present nutritional and economic needs of our families, farmers and communities while preserving the ability to do so for future generations.
Chefs, restaurateurs and servers are at the forefront of this mission, being in position to make best practice purchases for their businesses and guide guests on the journey to informed sustainable dining decisions. They are the link that connects farmers and diners, helping to tell the stories of where the food on our plates originated, who grew it and how it was raised and harvested.
When chefs form relationships with farmers and local businesses and share information regarding these associations with customers, it can make embracing healthy and eco-friendly food choices more straightforward. When consumers choose food raised in sustainable ways, not only can they benefit, but farmers or businesses that the ingredients were sourced from do, as well. Those decisions can have a direct impact on the economic welfare of the community.
Three local restaurants, though varying in size, location and menu offerings, are connected by the common thread of sustainability and strive to reflect their commitment to the mission through their menus.
Executive chef Patrick Donelan of The Noble Lion in Victoria works with owner Marc Huebner on the conception of seasonally-inspired menus.
Donelan is a certified forager, who supplies mushrooms for The Noble Lion and many other notable Twin Cities restaurants. If you’ve enjoyed a dish at The Noble Lion that contains mushrooms, they likely have been harvested from Donelan’s land up north. This is forest-to-fork at its finest. The Noble Lion has an impressive number of menu items made from ingredients sourced from local partners, including At the Farm in Waconia, Fish Guys Inc. and Wild Acres Farm Fresh Poultry.
Executive chef David Claney runs the scratch kitchen at Campiello in Eden Prairie. He strives to ensure that the ingredients are sourced sustainably and used responsibly in the creation of the artful Italian dishes. He conducts a weekly ingredient inventory and assesses what is on hand daily, as well. This ensures that ingredients are used at their optimal freshness and also greatly reduces food waste. Claney sources locally when it is seasonally possible, and he takes pride in making sure his staff utilizes the ingredients to their fullest potential. A couple of their local partners include Gentleman Forager in St. Paul and The Fish Guys Inc. Berkshire pork is sourced from a heritage farm near Des Moines, Iowa.
Jessica Pettingill, executive chef and owner of Café Thyme in Chanhassen, envisioned a place where she could immerse guests in good, wholesome farm-to-table dining. She is passionate about spreading the awareness that there are numerous farmers and small business owners in this community who are contributing to the dining experience at Café Thyme. Local partners include City Girl Coffee, Klingelhutz Farm & CSA, The Long Siding Farm, Red Bench Bakery and TC.Farm.
7850 Market Blvd., Chanhassen