Onsite Garden Boosts Local - CulinArt Group

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Onsite Garden Boosts Local

February 1, 2021, SUMMIT, NJ- The CulinArt dining services team at a corporate dining client in suburban New Jersey is sourcing produce from near and not-so-far in its quest to create fresh, high-quality, sustainable meals. “The campus’ raised-bed gardens are a great success. They give us the opportunity to create specials and menu items using the vegetables we grew right on site,” said Tom Mahler, CulinArt’s General Manager. He attributes both the garden and local supplier market to the team’s ability to craft the freshest, seasonal recipes that customers appreciate. “It’s amazing how much product you can grow in a small amount of space,” Executive Chef Jack Yuksel says.

The campus has several gardens where the team grows a wide variety of produce including 30 pounds a week of tomatoes and an endless amount of herbs. They source additional ingredients and specialty items from a growing list of local farms and suppliers that comprise 40% of the operation’s total purchases. These relationships allow the team to introduce customers to this supplier network and encourage them to help sustain it. “Our chefs show them how to purchase sustainably, to help people eat better,” Mahler says. At a recent farmers’ market hosted onsite, the dining team sold 80% of its inventory and used the rest for menu specials.

This article is an excerpt from Compass Group’s “Our Story 2020” Corporate Social Responsibility report. Click here to view the CSR full report.

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  • February 5, 2021
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What our clients are saying

“I wanted to let you know that for this entire school year I have been so well fed! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE all the diversity of salad choices we have each day and the amazing entrees.  My favorites are the carnitas, chili, curry, and cajun chicken days.  I am so grateful for all the care that goes into the food because I know I do not eat enough vegetables or balanced meals without you and your crew's work.  Thank you so much!  You take such great care of us!!”

“We can’t thank you enough for all the time and effort you put into getting this emergency shipment of water to our Waco, Tx office. As always, you guys pulled out all the stops and did everything possible to help! I know it doesn’t seem like much to you, but our employees in TX that need drinking water are truly grateful. I feel so fortunate to work with such true professionals. I think you set the bar that your competition wishes they could match!”

“Thank You! Chef Budd [and team], you overcame a new online ordering system (and hundreds of labels daily!), provided creative and healthy menus, continued to connect with local farmers to incorporate locally sourced ingredients, and worked tirelessly to serve the school community on three campuses.  While it feels like you are all a little like the Wizard of Oz right now, working behind a curtain in a kitchen far away, we sense your smiles and your passion to deliver the best possible service during these trying times. We are all so grateful!”

“I wanted to recognize the individuals at the Valley Forge Site Café who have been supporting us throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.  I have been onsite at least a few days every week since June 2020 and I noticed that the team continued to provide quality and timely service for breakfast and lunch.  They effectively packaged the food to maintain CDC guidelines. Thank you!  ”

“With all the prep work from Winterim ramping up and classes continuing as usual, it's a busy time to be a Forman teacher. Imagine my delight, tired as I was, when I delved into the upscale-restaurant-quality chicken parmesan our dining hall served last night. Forman is all about support, and providing our students with a dinner of that quality is just as important a measure of support as anything that happens in a classroom.”

“I ALWAYS feel spoiled by the meal offerings at CSW (The Cambridge School of Weston) and am entirely grateful for it. As I eat today's delicious and lavish lunch (and think about yesterday's as well), I can't tell you how much I feel so well cared for here, both with the food and by the dining hall staff. CSW cares for us in so many ways, both big and small.”

“We were totally impressed by the presentation and care in which these new team members were brought into the CulinArt family. So happy we made the decision to choose CulinArt Group.”

“I’m the GM for Branson [Ultrasonics] and based in the Brookfield office.  This is the first week that the café has been up and running in our new headquarters and just want to acknowledge the great job Adam Schnittert and the CulinArt staff onsite have done.  Our employees’ feedback thus far has been very positive.  The expanded options and menu quality have been very well received.  Just want to send you a quick note of thanks.”

“Many, and I do mean many, thanks for a great Parents Weekend.  I heard from so many happy parents and you all work very hard to make it happen.  In gratitude and kindness…”

“Thank you for including me today in the food waste demonstration/[chef competition] and flattering me with the role of “judge.” I will proudly don the [Stop Food Waste Day] apron the next time I plan an “event” in our own kitchen. I think this is a very worthwhile cause and the statistics you read off are staggering. They, alone, can intimidate a home chef, let alone be the “driver’ for a professional one.”

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