We’re excited to introduce you to our sponsors for the 2016 Change Food Fest through a series of Q&A’s. Today we are talking to Meghan Boledovich, the in-house forager at PRINT. Restaurant.
Located within a renovated and repurposed printing factory in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, PRINT. Restaurant is among one of the country’s leading restaurants dedicated to seasonal, sustainable cuisine. PRINT.’s Ag-American menu is updated daily to best showcase ingredients collected by in-house forager Meghan Boledovich and chef Charles Rodriguez from the farmers market, regional farms and other artisan purveyors.
What inspired Adam Block, the founder and owner of PRINT. Restaurant to get involved with the good food movement? Was the focus on sustainable food from the beginning?
Living in Northern California has exposed Adam to a food culture that’s long embraced sustainability and organic products. Adam was first inspired by the slow and good food movement while working consulting with chefs in California back in the mid-90s. Two notable clients that had the greatest influence on the good food movement ideology that Adam adopted were Judy Rogers (Zuni Cafe) and Alice Waters (Chez Panisse). Their dedication to sourcing local ingredients and highlighting their pristine flavor through straightforward seasonal cooking inspired him to take that concept to the opposite coast and open PRINT. in 2009.
From the very beginning sustainable food was the focus at PRINT. Upon opening, Adam created a full-time, in-house forager position in order to bring in the highest quality local products into the restaurant directly from farmers.
PRINT. employs you to research, quality-check and liaise with purveyors including farms, local winemakers, craft breweries and greenmarkets. Being a forager sounds like the coolest job ever. Tell us more about it.
I have to say, I do have one of the more dynamic restaurant jobs out there. I get to interact with so many people in so many areas of the restaurant and supply chain. In one day I will be at the Greenmarket talking with farmers about heirloom vegetables, then be up on the restaurant’s rooftop garden harvesting herbs, at the bar experimenting with seasonal cocktails, and attending staff meetings to do education on new products and dishes. Furthermore, I get to work with many nonprofits in the good food movement (like Change Food) to help build a stronger sustainable food community and system.
Restaurants that focus on sustainable food are often very expensive. You work directly with farmers, eliminating the middleman. Does this save money and give you move control over the products you receive?
Often with the nose-to-tail butchery we do in-house, we are able to use every part of the animal and get a lot of mileage out of one product. It can sometimes mean extra labor to work with every part of the vegetable or animal, and it may even out cost wise on our end for that reason, but it is worth it to stay true to the mission of sustainability and zero waste.
The PRINT. website shares a lot of information about your sustainable practices and your philosophy for running your business. Why is it important for you to share this information with your customers?
We think it is important to share this information with customers in order to educate them beyond the dining experience and let them know some of the various ways we promote sustainability that they may not be aware of from just solely enjoying a meal. For example, on our blog we go into detail about our work with various nonprofits, our visits to farms, current food system issues, etc.
What’s one thing individuals can do to contribute to a better food system?
Get to know the people who grow and prepare your food and understand the labor that goes into it. Visit a farm or talk with a farmer at the market about their growing practice. Taking those extra steps to educate yourself about your local food system and what you are putting into your body will help to bring about more long lasting and meaningful change for your own personal health and that of the planet.
The Change Food Fest “Growing the Good Food Movement” will take place in New York City on November 12th and 13th, 2016. We will explore and celebrate change happening in the food system. Rather than simply talk about problems, we will actively look at solutions that are leading us to the sustainable food system we wish to see. Our focus will be on both real and visionary change and will include an exploration into seafood, plant based vs meat diets, possible impacts of new businesses and investment money coming into the food space – and much more. You can purchase a ticket or host a viewing party of the live webcast in your local community. Follow the action at #CFFest2016!