The Big Idea 2013: Stem to Root

Stem to Root dishes make use of all the edible, healthy parts of produce such as stalks, peels, rinds and roots.

Published in FSD Update

Kimberley Triplett
Executive Chef/Regional
Operations Support
Bon Appétit Management Co.
Palo Alto, Calif.

We launched a program in our C&U and corporate accounts called Stem to Root. Stem to Root dishes make use of all the edible, healthy parts of local, seasonal produce such as stalks, peels, rinds and roots. We use everything from sage sprigs and lemon zest to watermelon rinds. Stem to Root puts a fresh, unique spin on vegetarian and vegan dishes and minimizes waste while being healthy and delicious. The waste reduction is in line with Bon Appétit’s principles and long-term goals and it reduces carbon footprint.

The station usually consists of two entrées, one vegan and one vegetarian. It’s a full meal for the customers. We also do a lot of juicing with this program, usually from fruit from local farms. So we’ll take an apple and juice it to serve as a beverage for the meal. We will also take the pulp from the apple, freeze it and turn it into something like a lemon grass apple Popsicle for dessert. It’s all about taking a new approach to these items that we would usually throw in the compost bin.

The Stem to Root item could be the star of the recipe or could just be an accent piece. We are working on expanding the core menu items. The real challenge is providing training for the operator who wants to run it and getting the training for the staff. We provide training on a corporate level for our operators.

My biggest advice is if you are using an item that you usually throw away, you really need to test it to see how it works in a recipe. These recipes really need that development process. For example, we had trouble with the peel of ginger root. We found that if we freeze it, grate it and toss it with organic sugar, then it’s OK to use in something like an iced granita. But the point is, you’ve got to play with it. 

Stem to Root items promote using every part of an ingredient, including stems, peels, stalks, rinds and roots. The items help promote Bon Appétit’s sustainability mission.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

Industry News & Opinion

High school students in Dallastown Area School District in Dallastown, Pa., will soon see the addition of live prep stations in their cafeteria, as well as an area where they can access food at any time during the school day.

The district has partnered with Chartwells for the revamp, which will allow students to watch their food being prepared and also includes the addition of new menu items, says the York Dispatch .

Chartwells’ mid-Atlantic dietitian, Aliza Stern, believes these changes will be welcomed by students as they become increasingly interested in different types...

FSD Resources