Earth Day Dinners Celebrate Farm-to-Table Movement - IACP celebrates simultaneously

Chefs Collaborative and Organic Valley Family of Farms will commemorate the 40thanniversary of Earth Day with Earth Dinners at restaurants around the country.  Developed in 2004, the Earth Dinner provides diners with an opportunity to reconnect with their food, its source, and the memories and traditions associated with it.

“We’re really pleased to have more than 50 member chefs and restaurateurs participating in this year’s dinner series,” says Melissa Kogut, Executive Director of Chefs Collaborative. “Earth Dinners highlight the commitment to sourcing ingredients responsibly and talent of our member chefs. The dinners also educate the public about the importance of eating food that is locally grown, in season, and sustainable.”

Participating chefs have developed special Earth Dinner menus to be served during the week of April 18-24, 2010. “It’s great to be part of a national initiative like this that promotes my philosophy as a chef,” says Chef Paul Virant of Vie Restaurant in Chicago, Il. Chef Virant will offer a special Earth Dinner prix-fixe menu featuring regional favorites like local ramps and wood-grilled rainbow trout.

Join me in Portland!

IACP's Annual Conference will coincide with these Earth Day events. Our theme this year is The New Culinary Order. Ever heard "what's old is new again?" Well, in many ways the nature of being a responsible gourmet means looking back and celebrating traditions that sustain us. We've got many sessions doing just that and highlighting the leading edge of the Farm-to-Table food movement including a full day "Pork and Pinot" event, local Willamette Valley producers, growers and brewers are hosting sessions, and of course there are Pacific Seafood sessions, Carrie Oliver is offering her "Provenance of Beef" workshop, and we have Butchery classes hosted by the brand new PDX meat.

For those of you coming to IACP here are the Chefs Collaborative members hosting special Earth Day dinners or featuring special menus. If you're meeting a friend for dinner why not pick one of these spots?

Grand Central Bakery
Portland, OR
April 16-30, 2010 during regular business hours
Call 503-232-0575 for more information!

Lucy’s Table
Portland, OR
April 22, 2010 from 5:00 PM to close
Call 503-226-6126 for more information!

Oregon Culinary Institute
Portland, OR
April 20-April 23, 2010, noon lunch and 7:00 PM Dinner
Call 503-961-6200 for more details!

Paley’s Place
Portland, OR
April 22, 2010 5:00 pm – close
Call 503-243-2403 for more information!

Chef Twillia Glover of the Liberty Elm Diner will serve up a “Farm-to-Diner” dinner in a historic, lunch car located in the Elmwood neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island. "One does not need to dine at a high end restaurant to receive a local, sustainable, and delicious meal," says Chef Glover who also owns her own catering business.

The proceeds from the Earth Dinners will support Chefs Collaborative and its continued educational programming for chefs. Restaurant contributions up to a total of $10,000 will be matched by Organic Valley Family of Farms. “We’re extremely grateful for the generous participation of our members and the support of Organic Valley,” says Kogut.

Click here for a full list of participating restaurants.

Founded in 1993, Chefs Collaborative is the nation’s leading network of chefs fostering a sustainable food system through education and collaboration with the greater food community. For more information, visit the Chefs Collaborative website: www.chefscollaborative.org.