As ingredient transparency increasingly becomes the most important item on any menu, a new, innovative program seeks to redefine how chefs and restaurants are viewed and valued. Good Food 100 Restaurants™ is a new badge of trust that educates eaters and recognizes chefs and restaurants that are transparent with their purchasing and sustainable business practices. Founded by food industry veteran Sara Brito with seed funding provided by entrepreneur Jeff Hermanson, the first of its kind, strategic rating system promises to move the restaurant industry forward by underscoring how chefs and restaurants are building a better food system and supporting state, regional, and national good food economies.
“Good food is more than just taste. Truly good food is beneficial for every link in the food chain. We want eaters to appreciate that and learn to evaluate chefs and restaurants for their commitment to transparency, sustainability and their overall impact on good food economies,” said Brito. “Eaters look to ratings, lists and awards to help navigate the proliferation of food choices. Good Food 100 Restaurants is a game changer, shifting away from recognition based on opaque standards and subjective criteria to recognition based on objective standards and transparent criteria defined by economic impact.”
The Good Food 100 will be compiled based on self-reported annual food purchasing data, independently audited by Consumer Values Verified, a division of NSF International. The data collected will be used to quantify restaurants on a link rating system of 2-5 based on percent of total food costs spent to support state, regional and national ‘good food’ producers and purveyors. Restaurants will be categorized as:
- Quick Service
- Fast Casual
- Casual Dining
- Fine Dining
- Food Delivery Services
To accompany the list, the Business Research Division of Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, will analyze the data to produce the Good Food 100 annual economic analysis measuring chefs’ good food purchasing decisions on local, regional, and national economies.
The impetus for the new rating system began when Brito undertook a first of its kind pilot economic impact analysis with seven Denver-area restaurant owners to examine the effect of chef purchasing power on the local economy. The study found that those seven chefs alone were responsible for a combined $7.4 million economic impact just from the foods they purchased within Colorado.
“Chefs are no longer just cooks. They are trusted authorities and advocates who have the power to educate and catalyze change among not only their colleagues, but the general public as well,” added Brito. “If a small number of chefs have such a profound impact, imagine the effect of hundreds across the country.”
Several influential culinary trailblazers have committed to participating in the Good Food 100 Restaurants, including: Mike Anthony (Gramercy Tavern, Untitled, Union Square Hospitality Group), Rick Bayless (Frontera, Tortas by Frontera), Alex Seidel (Fruition, Mercantile & Provisions),Kelly Whitaker (Basta), Suzanne Goin (Lucques, A.O.C., Larder), Hugh Acheson (5&10), Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja),Jonathon Sawyer (Team Sawyer Restaurants), William Dissen (The Marketplace Restaurant), Stephen Stryjewski(Cochon, Butcher, Herbsaint, and Peche), Steven Satterfield (Miller Union), Paul Reilly (Beast + Bottle and Coperta),David LeFevre (Manhattan Beach Post, Fishing With Dynamite, and The Arthur J), Andrea Reusing (Lantern and The Durham), Renee Erickson (Walrus & Carpenter, The Whale Wins, Barnacle Bar, Bar Melusine, Bateau, General Porpoise) and Bill Telepan (Oceana).
Chefs and restaurants interested in participating can visit the Good Food 100 website to complete the survey. The Good Food 100 inaugural rating and economic analysis report will be revealed in May 2017.
Augmenting the ratings and report, the Good Food 100 seeks to roll out a number of initiatives designed to showcase chefs who are embracing good food, including an exclusive Good Food Chef Camp, an inspirational and educational program in Crested Butte, Colorado.
For more information, please visit the Good Food 100 website.
About Sara Brito:
An entrepreneur of ideas and avowed foodie, Sara Brito is Co-Founder and President of the Good Food Media Network, a nonprofit educational organization that produces and publishes the Good Food 100 Restaurants™. Sara is a 20-year food (Chefs Collaborative, The Kitchen, Snooze), advertising/digital media (Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Digitas), and Fortune 100 (American Express, The New York Times, AOL) industry veteran with a successful track record leading people and change to make big ideas happen. While serving on the Board of Slow Food NYC, she co-created and launched the Slow Food ‘Snail of Approval’ program, a designation given to restaurants, bars, food and beverage artisans that contribute to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food supply of the City of New York. Under Sara’s leadership, Chefs Collaborative was nominated for the 2016 Taste Talks inaugural “Outstanding Nonprofit” award and three of her past clients, The Kitchen, Domino’s, and Vail Resorts (EpicMix), were named to Fast Company’s 2016 World’s Most Innovative Companies list. Her work has been featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine (“Broccoli’s Extreme Makeover,”) and in 2015 she was invited by the U.S. Department of State and the James Beard Foundation to speak at the American Chef Rally at ExpoMilano in Milan, Italy.
About Jeff Hermanson:
Jeff Hermanson is the co-founder and Chairman of Good Food 100 Restaurants™. Since 1993, Jeff has served as CEO of Larimer Associates, known for its development of Denver’s Larimer Square and Union Station. A strong proponent of incubating skilled, local restaurant talent, Jeff has partnered with a number of Denver’s notable chefs and restaurateurs to create some of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants, including the James Beard Award-Winning Rioja, Corridor 44 and TAG. Jeff’s philanthropic and social responsibility efforts are principally focused on hunger awareness and land conservation. He was recently named to the Board of Directors for We Don’t Waste and has been a board member and served as the President of the Crested Butte Land Trust.