A restaurant is either committed to real food, or they aren’t. I am so tired of reading, “We use organic, sustainable and local ingredients where possible”…. Do you realize how subjective that is?!
When I ask (and, all of us should, always), the translation is generally, “It’s too expensive to buy everything organic” or “You wouldn’t be able to afford our food if we used everything organic, but our salad greens are from a great local, organic farm” or, “Our meat is locally raised without hormones” or “We support local over organic” (my thoughts on local versus organic are pretty clear)
Ask what “where possible” means, before assuming the restaurant uses and will be serving you true, clean ingredients. As my son and I agree, if a restaurant is truly committed to a good food system, and supporting small, local, organic farmers, and are against GMOs (as we all should be for good reason), then these restaurants do not serve Heinz Ketchup, Tropicana Orange Juice, or serve conventional produce delivered from a food service company. Good chefs and restaurant owners who are committed won’t serve you fresh organic greens tossed in conventional oil and sugar, or fry “sustainable” food in toxic oils. Restaurants that are truly committed probably don’t serve fresh tomatoes during the winter months in Toronto for good reason, and, more than likely change their menus constantly to take advantage of what is available and best (bonus for creativity!). When someone makes the statement that they make every effort to support local, and organic and sustainable, or are committed to a better food system, they should be following through, otherwise, it’s just a lame effort, or a marketing tactic. And, we shouldn’t stand for it.
By no means am I minimizing any effort, or small steps forward, I applaud them all…change can’t always happen overnight (so, I’ve been told). But we all deserve honesty and full transparency.
So, once again, the solution is simple…ask where your food is coming from. Know that every dollar you spend is a vote for more of that something to be made, and that with every bite, you are voting for the kind of food system you want – you can appreciate eating better now, and your grand kids will thank you for it, too.
If you are spending 30 dollars on an entrée at a “sustainable” restaurant, it shouldn’t come with tomatoes that are coated in a petroleum wax. Well, that’s my opinion, anyway.