Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Meet Your Dinner

At GMIC’s Sustainable Meetings Conference last week, Chef Ward of the Doubletree Hotel Portland described the salmon we were eating, “Your salmon tonight came from the Columbia River a few miles from here and was caught by the Yakima Tribe.” One mouthful of the succulent fish was enough to confirm this fish was neither farmed nor well-travelled. Through his efforts in working with local Native American tribes, Chef Ward is able to ensure a consistent source of fresh, local salmon and support the community.

Always the skeptic, I wondered if ingredients for the rest of the meals would be delivered by a huge “nationally-recognized” food truck.

Each day arriving at the conference, my path took me past the entrance to the kitchen’s delivery ramp. Instead of seeing 18-wheelers full of food pulling in, here’s what I witnessed:

Day 1: Ma and Pa’s dairy farm delivering fresh eggs and milk products
Day 2: Bill’s Farm delivering the cabbage and beets
Portland Roasting delivering fair-trade coffee
Day 3: Cascade Farms delivering produce grown 30 minutes away
Rose City Brewing Company delivering a favorite neighborhood brew

Although the company names have been changed, you get the picture—small, local food purveyors. The Doubletree Hotel Portland walks the talk down to the last Oregon Coast mushroom!

Confession: As much as we Portlanders don’t want to believe it, this spoof on Portlandia hits close to home http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErRHJlE4PGI

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