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Upstart SF Restaurant Looks to Redefine Food Sustainability

  • Posted by SHFT on November 24, 2014 in Food
  • Twilight Greenaway for Civil Eats:

    In the quest to shave off distance from field to plate, today’s chefs and restaurants have devised a range of creative solutions–from growing tomatoes on their own rooftops to sourcing fruit from their customers’ backyards.

    The Perennial, a soon-to-open San Francisco eatery, plans to take the business of local sourcing several steps further. Many of the greens and herbs the restaurant serves will be grown in a closed-loop aquaponic system based across the Bay in Oakland. And when chef Chris Kiyuna wants to serve say, some sorrel or sprigs of purple basil, he’ll be able to harvest them from the “living pantry”–an area of the restaurant where the greens will float until just moments before they’re served.

    Karen Leibowitz, one of the three co-founders of the Perennial, along with her husband Anthony Myint and Chef Kiyuna, has been eating the greens recently, as they prepare to open the restaurant. “They’re sort of beautiful,” she says. “The roots are really long and almost clear.”

    In an aquaponic system, fish and vegetables co-exist in a delicate, symbiotic cycle. In this case, the bulk of the Perennial’s food waste will go into creating feed for catfish and sturgeon, whose waste will in turn nourish the greens in an age-old combination of water-filtration and fertilization.

    The benefits of aquaponics are many. For one, the greens taste better than they might in a traditional hydroponic system, which involves using high-doses of synthetic fertilizers. Not only are they as fresh as possible, but, according to Leibowitz, “the water-based system with micro-organisms gives them a much fuller flavor palette than a single chemical fertilizer system would.”

    - See more at: http://civileats.com/2014/11/11/sf-restaurant-the-perennial-is-taking-on-climate-change-head-on/#sthash.1ckUk5pR.dpuf

    In the quest to shave off distance from field to plate, today’s chefs and restaurants have devised a range of creative solutions–from growing tomatoes on their own rooftops to sourcing fruit from their customers’ backyards.

    The Perennial, a soon-to-open San Francisco eatery, plans to take the business of local sourcing several steps further. Many of the greens and herbs the restaurant serves will be grown in a closed-loop aquaponic system based across the Bay in Oakland. And when chef Chris Kiyuna wants to serve say, some sorrel or sprigs of purple basil, he’ll be able to harvest them from the “living pantry”–an area of the restaurant where the greens will float until just moments before they’re served.

    Karen Leibowitz, one of the three co-founders of the Perennial, along with her husband Anthony Myint and Chef Kiyuna, has been eating the greens recently, as they prepare to open the restaurant. “They’re sort of beautiful,” she says. “The roots are really long and almost clear.”

    In an aquaponic system, fish and vegetables co-exist in a delicate, symbiotic cycle. In this case, the bulk of the Perennial’s food waste will go into creating feed for catfish and sturgeon, whose waste will in turn nourish the greens in an age-old combination of water-filtration and fertilization.

    The benefits of aquaponics are many. For one, the greens taste better than they might in a traditional hydroponic system, which involves using high-doses of synthetic fertilizers. Not only are they as fresh as possible, but, according to Leibowitz, “the water-based system with micro-organisms gives them a much fuller flavor palette than a single chemical fertilizer system would.”

    The living pantry is meant to spark conversation about the many connections between food and climate change–as will many other elements of the restaurant Eater SF has called “mega-sustainable.” Leibowitz says she and Myint were inspired to focus on the topic after hearing that greenhouse gas emissions from the farms and fisheries could increase by 30 percent by 2050.

    “Our hope is to talk about where food comes from and to make it vivid for people, without being too preachy,” she says. “We want to make diners participants, not just consumers. And food really is the site where many people engage with the environment most closely.”

    Borrowing from the recent social practice art movement, Myint and Leibowitz are known for seeing their restaurants simultaneously as laboratories. Their first restaurant, Mission Chinese Food, began as a pop-up inside a more traditional restaurant, in part, says Leibowitz, to make people consider the role of the modern eatery. At Commonwealth, another San Francisco restaurant founded by Myint and several other local chefs and restauranteurs, Leibowitz constructed a mini-art gallery inside the bathrooms, as a comment on public and private space.

    And at both restaurants, a portion of each meal goes to support hunger-relieving organizations. In fact, the two restaurants together have donated more than a half a million dollars for food banks and other charities in the Bay Area.

    Article continues at Civil Eats.

    Photo credit: The Perennial

    The living pantry is meant to spark conversation about the many connections between food and climate change–as will many other elements of the restaurant Eater SF has called “mega-sustainable.” Leibowitz says she and Myint were inspired to focus on the topic after hearing that greenhouse gas emissions from the farms and fisheries could increase by 30 percent by 2050.

    “Our hope is to talk about where food comes from and to make it vivid for people, without being too preachy,” she says. “We want to make diners participants, not just consumers. And food really is the site where many people engage with the environment most closely.”

    Borrowing from the recent social practice art movement, Myint and Leibowitz are known for seeing their restaurants simultaneously as laboratories. Their first restaurant, Mission Chinese Food, began as a pop-up inside a more traditional restaurant, in part, says Leibowitz, to make people consider the role of the modern eatery. At Commonwealth, another San Francisco restaurant founded by Myint and several other local chefs and restauranteurs, Leibowitz constructed a mini-art gallery inside the bathrooms, as a comment on public and private space.

    And at both restaurants, a portion of each meal goes to support hunger-relieving organizations. In fact, the two restaurants together have donated more than a half a million dollars for food banks and other charities in the Bay Area.

    - See more at: http://civileats.com/2014/11/11/sf-restaurant-the-perennial-is-taking-on-climate-change-head-on/#sthash.1ckUk5pR.dpuf


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