Americans are eating out more often than ever before. It is becoming increasingly important to our society, culture, and communities that restaurants offer delicious, sustainable, and healthy options. The challenge to individual chefs is to create tasty options that consumers want to eat, while also providing quality nourishment to the human body.
According to the CDC, statistics for diabetes alone has more than doubled between the years 2000 and 2015. We know that eating out and consuming processed quick food has contributed to a rise in diabetes along with obesity and heart disease over the last couple of decades.
While some foods should be eaten frequently, some should be eaten in moderation. If our communities are going to be eating out this much, it’s important to be mindful of what we’re eating.
In many cities, restaurants and chefs have started to change the landscape of this cultural norm. Using their creativity and skill, they provide healthy and delicious options that compete with the quick-and-easy fast-food options. But there are many towns throughout our country that could still use the artistic touch only a food enthusiast can provide.
According to a fast-food analysis done in 2020, “Consumers of fast-food focus on taste, price, and quality – in that order.” This is insightful information when trying to come up with a menu that is nutritionally responsible.
Many companies are capable of using quality to compete with the speed of fast-food establishments. This wouldn’t be possible without those who are willing to put some thought and care into the food they are selling. Chefs and restaurant owners are fueling our communities and taking personal responsibility to use their power wisely.
Chefs who are looking to support this initiative in their communities know there are several things they can do to amp up this movement.
- Make it Available Fast. They provide an app, order ahead options, or delivery so that the convenience factor is already built in.
- Use Whole Food Ingredients. Even if they are making dessert. The less processed the ingredients, the better the flavor and nutritional value.
- Source Ingredients from Local Farmers and/or Grocers. It builds the economy and community to work together supporting each other’s work. This comradery is invaluable to humanity, especially in our modern world.
- Seasonal Dishes. Changing the menu based on what is available seasonally. This goes hand in hand with sourcing local ingredients. The shorter distance the food travels to get to the chef, the better. It means fewer preservatives, additives, and a lower cost.
- Thoughtful Importation of Ingredients. Sometimes there are ingredients that aren’t available locally. Like Coffee, chocolate, bananas, or vanilla. Use ethical companies that implement fair trade practices, pay their employees a respectable living wage, and keep their ingredients clean.
It’s not always realistic to be able to use all of these suggestions at the same time. The challenge here is to create the world we want to live and play in. A balance of humanity (health, support, love, community) with economic factors (what realistically fits within our budgets, consumer demand, cultural norms and habits).
Are you interested in becoming a chef or restaurant owner? Northwest Culinary Institute offers a 9-month training program fit to equip you with the essential qualities. For more information, please fill out the form. Alternatively, you can contact us directly.