Fedele Bauccio has long been one of my favorite people in non-commercial foodservice. The CEO of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Bon Appétit Management Co. has passion, not only for food but for a host of environmental and social issues related to food. His passion comes to life in Bon Appétit’s corporate offices and in the scores of B&I and university accounts managed by the company. He has been honored several times for his contributions to the foodservice industry. Most recently he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, an organization made up of chefs, restaurateurs, foodservice operators, writers, photographers, stylists, marketers, nutritionists and educators, for his efforts in promoting sustainability in the foodservice industry.
This is the second award Bauccio has received this year, the other being the Leadership Award from the James Beard Foundation, which he shared with Michelle Obama. Last October, he also was given the Pathfinder Award from the Chefs Collaborative.
I called Fedele last week to congratulate him, and, of course, we began talking about sustainability. The conversation began innocently enough, with my asking him about how he defines sustainability. But Fedele never rests—in talking about IACP’s Lifetime Achievement Award he said he hoped the award wasn’t pushing him toward retirement “because there are still many mountains to climb”—and after giving me his company’s current definition of sustainability he explained that he is in the process of rewriting it.
“We are updating it to include the issues of public health, with the issue of antibiotics, animal welfare and farm workers’ rights,” he explained, “because you can’t talk about sustainability unless you talk about those things.”
Fedele went on to say that he is excited about the number of companies and institutions that practice sustainability in one form or another, “and they’re not just paying lip service to it.”
“But there is a lot of work to be done,” he added. “We have a broken agricultural system in this country and we need to come up with a much ore sustainable agricultural system. We need one that is more of an ecological model, one that is environmentally sound, financial viable and socially equitable.”
More of Fedele thoughts will be found in our May cover story on the environment.