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Cooking with Organic Ingredients

September 15, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Minneapolis/St. Paul 0 Comments

The phrase "organic farming" first appeared in Lord Northbourne's book "Look to the Land," published in 1940. But the truth is organic farming is the oldest form of agriculture. Prior to World War II, farming without the use of petroleum-based chemicals (synthetic fertilizers and pesticides) was the only option for farmers. Experimentation to develop peacetime uses for chemicals used for wartime applications found that many could be used as fertilizers and insecticides. And so began the practice of industrial farming.

Minnesota Chefs Are Going Back to the Land

Scientific studies have shown that chemicals used in industrial farming have negative impacts on the environment and human health. By the early 1970s many people began to farm their own produce to avoid the ill effects of these chemicals. Some began to sell their goods at local farmers’ markets and the organic farming movement was born.

Today, Minnesota chefs are following the trend and using more and more organic food products in their dishes. Restaurants that feature menus of partially or wholly organic menus are opening their doors everywhere. The strong consumer desire to eat more healthily has pushed the demand for organic ingredients in restaurants.

Minnesota Cooking is Better with Organics

With research showing that organic food is both tastier and more nutritious, it is no wonder that organic food production is increasing by double digit figures. Organic food sales are anticipated to increase an average of 18 percent each year from 2007 to 2010*.

There are several considerations to be aware of if you open an organic kitchen:

  • Organic Certification – The USDA requires that to become "certified organic" a restaurant must serve at least 95% organic food
  • Cost – Organic foods can cost 10 to 40% more than non-organics. This will result in higher pricing for your organic fair than your non-organic competitors.
  • Marketing Your Restaurant – Many people falsely equate organic food with "health food." It isn’t. If you market your restaurant properly, you have an excellent opportunity to attract more discerning diners who are looking for organic options.
  • Sourcing – Sometimes finding steady sources of organic items can be difficult with seasonal availability being a key factor. Be prepared to have a flexible menu that can adapt to sudden changes in product sourcing.

If you are willing to run an organic kitchen as a Minnesota chef, you could be out in front of one of the hottest trends in the food service industry. This trend, however, shows very little sign of slowing down any time soon.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Minneapolis/St. Paul. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Minneapolis/St. Paul offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Minneapolis-St-Paul for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Minneapolis/St. Paul does not guarantee employment or salary.

From the Organic Trade Association - http://www.ota.com/organic/mt/business.html


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