Bon Appetit Management Company is hosting its annual Eat Local Challenge on Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Knorr Family Dining Room.
William Persson, the marketing coordinator for Bon Appetit at Hillsdale College, said figuring out the menu is always more difficult than you think.
“It’s called a challenge for a reason, and the challenge is primarily sourcing different products to create the dish,” Persson said.
Since 1999, Bon Appetit has committed to sourcing at least 20% of the ingredients they use from local farmers. The challenge is an opportunity to showcase that commitment. It requires chefs to make meals only with ingredients grown or produced within 150 miles of Hillsdale College, with the exception of salt — a challenge that the company has been doing nationwide since 2005.
The team first figures out what ingredients are available for use and then crafts the meals from the available options, according to Persson. The Passport station will contain a smoothie bar, Persson said, while Comforts will feature a sausage dish with spaetzle and local butter.
“I’m most excited to try different foods that are locally grown,” Abigail Yi, a freshman, said. “I think that would be really cool to get a change in what I’m eating and to think more about what is going on my plate.”
Danielle Lee, marketing assistant for Bon Appetit, said the Eat Local Challenge is an opportunity for students to appreciate the work that farmers do.
“The challenge helps people think deeper about where their food comes from and the hard labor put into growing produce,” Lee said. “Just sparking that small awareness in people, I think, helps them appreciate the food that they eat.”
In addition to trying locally sourced foods, students will have the opportunity to meet and speak to local farmers Ezra and Mary Bertakis of Chef’s Way Organic Farms, who will be in the dining hall next Tuesday during the event to share more about what they do.