The close-knit relationship between farmer and chef, which many say has become a considerable local phenomenon just over the past decade, is the secret ingredient behind culinary excellence and diversity. While shopping, chefs find a new, interesting product, buy it to test on their menu, come back for more and everyone wins – farmer, chef and hungry customer. In fact, it has become a way to bring attention to local production and the farmer’s name on the menu- attaching them to one of the restaurants hottest trends.
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, this symbiotic relationship is mostly seen in fine-dining restaurants, but chefs and farmers are noticing that casual places are joining in, ” The National Restaurant Association, said about 90 percent of fine-dining establishments in the U.S. offer some kind of local product. Participation dwindles by price point, although it’s increasing…noting local items on the menus of 63 percent of the nation’s casual-dining establishments, 56 percent of family restaurants, 45 percent of fast-casual chains, like Panera, and 28 percent of quick-service restaurants, like McDonalds.” Who would have thought fast-food and locally farmed meat could be used in the same sentence?
The food-service-restaurant industry is quite competitive and in order to stay ahead you must always be “in” on the latest food and restaurant industry trends. Gone are the days when people used to spend money at restaurant with out the thought of where their food came from. Now that people are more health conscious, they will choose to eat at restaurants that use healthy, farm-fresh ingredients in their menus. The demand for healthier menu options has changed the norm of restaurants buying and cooking mass-produced food. Instead, it encourages restaurants to buy locally, which in turn supports local economies, reduces the carbon footprint, and often results in higher-quality products.
Win, Win: Chefs and local farmers symbiotic relationships supports a sustainable agriculture and gives restaurateurs signature dishes that use seasonal produce. In some cases, Chefs discover new sources of ingredients right in their own neighbourhood that they weren’t aware of. It will help many-a-emerging restaurant concept all around the world to break free from their safe zones and brings more experiments in their cooking and flavors on the palate.