Wednesday, October 9, 2013

M.C.I. Churning out Sustainably Sound Chefs

With an organic garden in full bloom and a state of the art energy efficient facility, one can deduce that the Miami Dade Culinary Institute is serious about sustainability. Using produce from local farms such as Paradise and Verde gardens in homestead the director, Chef John Richards, is teaching his students the importance of local food sourcing and composting to sustain future generations.
Representatives of these and various local farms come and give “colloquiums” as Richards titles it. “They engage the faculty and students to talk about what’s important to us, like how we buy, make, and dispose of food properly and how it impacts our environment and the world”.
The school also has an organic garden that first year students tend to. Charles David Countin, academic adviser for M.C.I. says that “First year students must learn to keep an organic garden in the middle of this urban environment.”

This being real world experience for what our future generation of chefs will face with higher demand for produce and less growing space.
“I feel they teach us a lot about how different foods are produced and how local produce can be fresher due to proximity”, says production three (equivalent to a second year) student Daniel Hernandez. Hernandez says he will definitely consider using more local produce upon graduation as it is “healthier and good for the environment”.
 Despite the effort M.C.I. is making to practice and preach sustainability, there is the current issue of cost that keeps them from being 100 percent sustainable. Local foods can be more expensive due to the likelihood that the farms are fair trade, abiding by state wage and hourly laws, as well as organic, free of inexpensive/toxic pesticides.
Richards has plans to continue making his school more sustainable despite expense issues. He is currently seeking to become part of the National Restaurant Association of Chicago’s Sustainability Committee.

 Richards wants to become one of the leaders that will figure out what a fully sustainable institution should look like and how that can be incorporated in colleges and even high schools. “There isn’t a book, we’re pioneering that. My mission is for everyone in this school to be a part of that journey”.

-Sarah Attias

No comments:

Post a Comment