Bon Appétit’s Eat Local Challenge comes to Transylvania

Bon Appétit has brought fresh, healthy, chef-driven, sustainable and local food choices to students, faculty and staff at Transylvania

In June, Transylvania became the first college in Kentucky to partner with Bon Appétit Management Company, an award-winning industry pioneer whose mission is “food service for a sustainable future.” In choosing Bon Appétit, Transy is looking to bring fresh, healthy, chef-driven, sustainable and local food choices to students, faculty and staff.

The “local” part of that mission will be highlighted at lunch Tuesday, Sept. 24, when Bon Appétit’s Café Transylvania participates in the 2019 Eat Local Challenge, a companywide event celebrating farmers, producers and artisans annually with a 100% local meal.

According to Bon Appétit’s website, it is the first food service company to create and celebrate the Eat Local Challenge annually. “We love celebrating our local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and food craftspeople and explaining to our guests why supporting them is so vital to our food supply. Although we serve locally grown food every day in our cafés, highlighting this extreme example of a 100% local meal has started lively conversations amongst guests and our staff,” the company said.

Executive chef Desmond Young (left) and sous chef Daniel Holeman (right) will create and execute the menu for the 2019 Local Food Challenge.

The Eat Local Challenge in Transylvania’s café will feature menu items sourced entirely from within 150 miles of the downtown Lexington campus. The featured ingredient — mushrooms — comes from Prayer Mountain Farms in Upton, Kentucky. Other providers — many of whom are featured daily in the café — include: Marksbury Farms, Lancaster (beef and pork); Courtney Farms, Bagdad (vegetables); Mount Pleasant Acres, Owingsville (vegetables); Nate’s Coffee, Lexington (coffee); Epping’s on Eastside, Lexington (pastries); O2 Urban Farms, Cincinnati (aquaponic greens); Hydrogrowers Hydroponics, Pleasant Hill, Ohio (salad greens); That Guy’s Family Farms, Clarksville, Ohio (herbs,  vegetables); and Swallow Hill Jersey Dairy, Jamestown, Ohio (milks, creams, buttermilk).

This past spring, Transylvania and Bon Appétit worked with the City of Lexington’s Bluegrass Farm to Table initiative and its director, Ashton Potter Wright, to establish connections in the local food system. In August, the university’s new coffee shop, Gratz Perk Café, opened with locally roasted coffee and bakery items from Lexington-owned food crafters.

“We want food to be a differentiator at Transylvania,” said Michael Covert, interim vice president of student life. “For our students, there’s an interest in good, healthy, local eating. Bon Appétit provides those options daily.”

Founded in 1987 and now headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Bon Appétit currently operates more than 1,000 cafés in 34 states for private universities, corporations, museums and cultural institutions.