Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Idiots Guide to the Sustainable Plate

Are you jealous? I got to meet and chat with one of the most talented chefs and restaurateurs
in the Cleveland area. This is head chef, Steve Schimoler, of Crop Bistro. I met him at a Crocker Park event yesterday called The Green Factory where he gave a presentation called "The Sustainable Plate". He is way cool, personable, and knowledgeable and I can't wait to give his restaurant a try.

What is the definition of that trendy, foodie term we keep hearing about lately? Even as a dietitian, I wasn't really sure. So, I was relieved when he said that he believes it is still a concept that is evolving. First, it is about serving up food of high quality and nutritious value. He believes that this can be attained by buying local foods(according to him, more important than buying organic). Local foods are better simply because they are picked at the peak of ripeness when the BRIX value is at its best. Don't worry- I didn't know what BRIX meant either. But, it is a measurement of the sugar content in produce. It relates to how good something tastes. For instance, the BRIX would be higher in a garden tomato vs. a pale red tomato that has traveled many miles and sat on refrigerated truck. He recommends that we consumers challenge the restaurants we eat at by asking them the BRIX content of some of their produce. He also recommends that we ask our restaurants of choice which of their foods are bought locally. After all, a restaurant is only as good at its patrons and we should demand the best. The Crop Bistro provides about 60% locally grown foods on its menu which is about the highest it can go considering that we live in Northeastern Ohio. We don't have a lot of access to meats which are raised locally.

Sustainable foods also refers to our food providers having a conscience. It may cost a restaurant more money to purchase foods which are locally grown, but, it gives back to the local economy which is good for all of us. Buying locally grown food also benefits the environment in 2 ways. First, it obviously takes less fuel for a tomato to travel from Kamms Corner than from Texas. Secondly, that heavy packaging that is necessary to protect produce when it travels a far distance, well, that is one less thing that goes into our landfills.

But, the best thing I learned about was Crop Bistro's Sunday Supper! This restaurant walks the walk when it comes to sustainable foods. They actually use the foods which he still has on hand from the week to provide an extraordinary meal on Sunday nights. Before you say, "Ew, I can eat leftovers for free at home". Check out todays Sunday Supper menu online at It looks amazing! FYI- he doesn't post the menu until 3:00 that day. How fun is that? Talk about spontaneity and talent!

For $25, you can have an appetizer, entree, and dessert which is a great value for such a high-end restaurant. I can't wait to go with my blogging buddy and fellow foodie, Tina. Any of you care to join us?

Oh, and by the way, I will have more recipe posts this week since I also have a lot of local produce on hand.


  1. I'm glad you remember so much of the talk! This was really informative-as usual. Can't wait for Sunday Supper!

  2. Thanks for all the informative stuff. This place sounds great!

  3. Just found you through blog after blog- can't really remember where, but from the website somehow. I'm Megan and I live in North Olmsted. I also blog about my family of 7 and running. Just wanted to say hi! and I love the blog. It's good to see fellow Clevelanders!

  4. Organic Warrior: Thanks and also can't wait for Sunday Supper!

    Good greens: Thanks for the compliments!Hope to let you know how the restaurant is this week.

    The Schilens Family: Nice to meet you Megan. I live 1 town over in Fairview Park! Wow I'm impressed that you have time to blog and run with a family of 7.