Connecting Restaurants to the Farm: A Workshop for Restaurant Professionals

Saturday, March 5, 2016, 9:30 am - 11:30 am

Many top Bay Area chefs build relationships directly with local farmers by buying produce at the farmers market and working with it daily in their kitchens, but it’s the front-of-house (FOH) team that ultimately communicates the importance of the food sourcing, purveyors, and the restaurant’s values to the consumer. How can FOH staff bridge the gap to be more engaged and knowledgeable about the farm? How can they represent the chef’s and farmer’s collaboration to the guests?

Join CUESA farmers market co-director Lulu Meyer, restaurant consultant Liz Subauste, farmer Aomboon “Boonie” Deasy, and chef and co-owner of Nopa Laurence Jossel for a lively discussion with practical, insightful advice, moderated by Shawndra McCrorey of Culinary Agents. The event begins with coffee, a light breakfast, and networking opportunities at 9:30 am. The panel discussion will run from 10 to 11 am, and conclude with a custom farmers market tour, designed to get the ball (and relationships) rolling. 

Meets in the Port Commission Hearing Room, on the second floor of the Ferry Building. This event is geared toward restaurant industry professionals, but all are welcome to attend!


The Moderator

Shawndra McCrorey’s career in F&B started in restaurants, including Rubicon, A16, and State Bird Provisions as a wine and service leader, and following that, in sales and Italian wine education with local import and distribution companies including Zigzagando, Villa Italia, and Estate Wines LTD. She is a holistic nutrition educator and consultant with certification from Bauman College in Berkeley, and an avid Bay Area farm and farmers market supporter. Shawndra now works for Culinary Agents, a professional, industry-specific, networking and job matching website, working to support the needs of local industry businesses and professionals, which partnered with CUESA to sponsor the Market to Chef program.

The Panelists

Aomboon “Boonie” Deasy operates K&J Orchards, started by her parents Kalayada Ammatya and James Beutel (the eponymous “K” & “J”) in 1982.  K&J Orchards grows more than 180 varieties of fruits and nuts on a few plots in Winters and Yuba City and sells their tree-ripened fruit at farmers markets and to more than 80 restaurants around northern California. In addition to her full-time job in textiles, Boonie manages the farmers markets with her mother, while her husband, Tim, works full-time on the farm and trucks fruit directly to restaurants. Over the years Boonie has developed close relationships with chefs and shares detailed information about the crops and farm as she sells to them each Saturday at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Laurence Jossel is the chef and co-owner of Nopa, and is a former San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef who opened Chez Nous with great success in 2000, following stints at La Folie, the Ritz-Carlton with Gary Danko, and Kokkari. His partners in Nopa are Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak. This trio, who met while all were working for Chow Restaurants, combines years of food and wine experience with outstanding restaurants in the Bay Area. At Nopa and their sister restaurant Nopalito, the cuisine is self-defined as simple food created with seasonal ingredients sourced from local purveyors. Jossel co-created Nopalize, an industry-backed food media blog, sharing access to growers, producers, and makers in our local food community, both online and offline.

Lulu Meyer, Co-Director of Operations for CUESA, is responsible for all administrative aspects and management of the day-to-day operations for the Ferry Plaza Farmers Markets. Over the last decade she has developed and refined CUESA’s Market to Chef Program, which helps to encourage and facilitate the sourcing of local farm product by Bay Area chefs, caterers, and artisanal food producers. A native San Franciscan, Lulu studied at the California Culinary Academy and had worked in the restaurant industry for more than 10 years before coming to CUESA.

Liz Subauste began working in the restaurant industry at a young age while helping with her mother’s catering company. A Peru native, she enrolled at Lima University for film studies and participated in a student exchange program that brought her to the Bay Area in 2000. While working in various restaurant positions throughout film school, she realized that food was her passion and in 2003 changed academic and career paths. After graduation, Liz worked at some of San Francisco’s most prominent restaurants such as Myth, Delfina, and the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group. Following her 5+ years with the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, Liz decided to focus on opening, training, and structuring restaurants. She now works as an independent consultant for restaurant openings, with a focus on operations, culture, and communications. Most recently she opened Toro in NYC, and Kin Khao and Al’s Place in San Francisco.