Saturday, September 26, 2009

Passing the Baton to the Next Generation

  My assistant who is actually my right hand gal with your produce boxes is named Elissa Chandler. She is a senior at Occidental College, which is right behind the restaurant.
Last year (a couple of months into starting the delivery service) she popped her head into the cheese shop where I was up to my eyeballs in vegetables and said, "Is that Spring Garlic". It surprised me, because not a lot of people know what Spring Garlic is, unless you are a chef or an avid cook. One thing led to another and she asked if she could be my intern and help pack the baskets. I thought, "sure, she will show up once, and that will be that." But I appreciated the interest. Well it is a year later, and she practically runs it. She goes to the farmers markets with me, packs the boxes with Fabian, prints the client sheets, and anything else that needs to be done. When I'm out of town all is in good hands.
  I have really gotten to know her over this last year. She is a remarkable girl. She started the first ever-organic vegetable garden (F.E.A.S.T.) at Occidental College last semester. She coordinated with staff and had huge planter boxes built and started a compost program with the student cafeteria. It truly is the biggest compost heap I have ever seen. She started everything from seed, and it is now giant.  She goes on weekends to visit farms that practice sustainable farming. She is passionate and obsessed with what she is doing.
She is now co cheffing an on campus restaurant that she started with a friend Giulia Pasciuto every other week on Saturday nights (this week is the first of the semester). They feed about 20 students at each dinner. The menus are comprised with produce from the organic school garden.  The menus are seasonal, simply prepared and delicious. It is called Well Fed. 
  These kids are our next generation of foodies! They are smart, passionate and well spoken. They are the people we need in Washington to change food policy. They know food and politics.  They will be the new restaurateurs , farmers and policy makers of this century. They understand what needs to happen with food, and how to bring about change.  They are young and can think outside the box. They are our modern day Alice Waters'. We need to nurture and support these driven souls that will someday change our planet.

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