Chop’t Rolls with Farm to Fork
Posted on April 11, 2014
Rockstar restauranteurs are finding that sourcing from family farmers and local growers is an important part of their menu development. We caught up with Catherine Lederer, Chop’t Creative Salad Company’s VP of food & beverage for insights on the importance of impeccable sourcing.
Q: Can you give a brief description of your menu concept?
A: Our philosophy at Chop’t is that BETTER TASTES BETTER. We are constantly searching for better ingredients, better flavors and better food artisans who share our passion.
Q: What does “farm-to-table” sourcing mean to your menu/concept?
A: “Farm-to-table” or “farm-to-fork” is about bringing the freshest local produce to our guests and about supporting local and regional family farmers. It’s also about partnering with farms and suppliers – like FreeBird Chicken, Plainville Farms and Niman Ranch to name a few – who share our values and supporting sustainable, responsible, humane and natural practices.
Q: What are your most popular FreeBird menu items?
A: Every 60 days, we take our guests on a flavor journey through our “Destination Salads” inspired by regional and international foods. We introduce guests to far-away flavors with our FreeBird chicken rubbed and grilled with spices from around the world, such as aji amarillo from Peru, piquin from Spain and aleppo pepper from the Middle East.
Q: Why do you take the time to visit your farmers and growers?
A: We want to connect with the people who grow our food and to understand fully how the animals are raised. At Chop’t, we think it’s important to create long-standing relationships and partnerships with the farmers who grow our food.
Q: How do decisions you have made on farm-to-table sourcing and sustainability affect your bottom line?
A: Partnering with better suppliers has led to a significant increase in our food costs, but we were able to find other efficiencies in our business to offset some of the cost. It’s definitely an investment, but one we think is absolutely worth it. Our goal is always to invest in quality ingredients and humane supply chains, but the way the animals are raised also happens to contribute to eating quality. That means not only do we identify with FreeBird’s better values, but we are able to offer our guests a better-tasting product, too.
Founded in 2001 by college friends Tony Shure and Colin McCabe, Chop’t Creative Salad Company is the creator and leader of the premium salad segment, and has expanded from its original location in New York City’s Union Square to include 25 locations in New York City, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and suburban Westchester, New York, and Bethesda, Maryland. Aiming to change the future of fast food, Chop’t pushes the boundaries of what a salad can be with its core menu of 14 Classics, 3 rotating Seasonal Specials, 25 homemade, small-batch dressings, and limited-time-only “Super Seasonals” that feature local produce only at its peak. Expanding its “Better Tastes Better” philosophy beyond its restaurant walls, Chop’t also partners with non-profit Wellness in the Schools to bring healthy lunches to New York City public schools.