snal3All crazy articles aside for a moment…

We are so proud of our Slow Food Snail Approved Chefs- they are all doing their part in their own way.  Our chefs are not promising to use 100% local and organic produce, but they are each pulling their weight in the movement, doing their part through their unique practices and partnerships, taking the road less travelled, to improve the dining scene in terms of taste, quality, sustainability, and integrity.

Here is what this chef had to say:

“From the time I arrived here in South Florida and at the Palms Hotel & Spa, I have made a conscious effort to familiarize myself with local farms and suppliers. Let’s face it… I had some big shoes to fill! I want to thank Chef Julie Frans for the awesome foundation that she laid in making Essensia and the Palms’ a pillar in the slow food community.

With that said, I have to also give credit and thanks to our ownership for their tireless efforts and contributions to keeping up with what is considered more than just a trendy concept for them. They live and breathe these ideals and do whatever they can to provide myself and my team with the opportunity to continue to further our knowledge in sourcing from local and sustainable sources.

I was recently given the opportunity to visit Omaha, Nebraska to meet with companies and families committed to raising natural and sustainable upper third quality beef. The knowledge gained in that experience was absolutely priceless, as well as the influence that has made in my buying choices.

Almost a year ago I had the chance to take a farm trip with Slow Food Miami through their Chef Alliance program to visit a handful of local farms and farmers that provide natural and organically grown fruits, vegetables and other produce. Meeting these farmers and walking their farms is the best way to understand the procedures and methods in which they produce quality ingredients for our restaurant. More recently, I attended another great event where Chef alliance bought together farmers, foragers, chefs, and industry professionals, to learn about summer produce that grows in South Florida.  These connections made through Slow Food Chef Alliance are really important for us to grow as chefs.

A few months back Essensia was invited to participate in the Vizcaya Farms Inaugural “Dinner for Farmers” in which we were able to meet even more local farmers and also give back and show our appreciation to what they all do for us.

I have to also mention Barb and Jeremy from Sun fresh Farm and Ranch who I met last year and have created a great relationship with. I have also visited their farm to learn about the methods and practices that they use to produce quality poultry, eggs and produce. At Essensia we save our vegetable scraps and give them to Sun Fresh to be used for feed for their hens and also compost for their soil.

Harpke family Farms has been another great relationship I’ve formed to support their farm, and they now ultimately provide our guests with quality microgreens and produce. We receive living produce from them and are diligent in recycling the unused soil and plant matter to be used in their compost and soil.

Just last week I was given the opportunity to partner with Chef Rick Moonen and N.A.C.E. to speak to over 600 industry professional about the corporate responsibility of sustainability. This gave me the opportunity to share my experience and knowledge with a group that can and will have a great impact on our future practices within the hospitality industry.

I will continue to follow the direction set by our ownership and reach out to all available sources that can provide us with quality, all natural ingredients to pass on to our guests. That’s what we do and we will continue our efforts in supporting farms and farmers that contribute to the Slow Food movement.”

Check out the complete list of Snail of Approved Chefs here.