Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Integrity

White Marble Farms is not a farm at all. It's a deceptive ploy by a marketing team targeting the dining public who cares about where their food comes from. My advice to you as a chef: If you have this 'farm' name on your menu, take it off immediately. You are doing a disservice to real farmers trying to make a living raising animals humanely. I would urge you to seek third party accreditation such as the AWA label. The truth is, some chefs have been lied to, but most know this information and they actually receive a discount through a large food distributor to place the name "White Marble Farm" on the menu. If your a real farmer and your farm name is on the same menu as WMF then I would urge you to reconsider selling to that chef.

Wow, I've wanted to get that off my chest for awhile. So there it is.

The Farmer has recently found out, see his last post, that some chefs don't understand menu integrity. What is menu integrity? It means that if you, as a Chef, deem it necessary to write a farms NAME on the menu, than you've taken the time to at least do ONE or SEVERAL of the following:
  • Talked with the farmer face to face or several times over the phone
  • Actually visited the farm to see the animals, their temperament, the grass, the Farmer
  • Tasted the product and placed an order
  • Trained your staff on the location of the farm, who the Farmer is, why you buy the product
Menu integrity means being truthful to your guests, the same guests who are paying for the product from the farm that you've so scrutinized and worked with to be able to justify the cost and time it takes to source locally or regionally. Menu integrity means that if you state "we use local and organic produce when ever possible" translates to the fact that you use it when ever it makes sense for your restaurant. And that is telling the truth. It doesn't mean you are 100% local and organic ALL the time. By all means that's a great accomplishment but VERY rare. Fooling your guests into thinking you are someone or thing your not is about as low as it gets in the food world. And it is a small world.

The meaning of good and bad, of better and worse, is simply helping or hurting.--Ralph Waldo Emerson

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