Archive for Kiersten Firquian

From Tank to Table? The Potential of Local Produce Without the Farm

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2014 by bistrokids

Local continues to be the emerging killer quality marker in American food culture. Roughly half of American consumers have bought local produce in the past year, according to a recent poll by The Hartman Group. Although the notion of local really took off years ago in top foodie markets (e.g., Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York), it now has a presence on independent restaurant menus in virtually every U.S. market. If you think we’re exaggerating, check out the Harvest Kitchen & Lounge in the most unlikely of places: Solon, Ohio.

Grocers are trying to bring in local produce wherever and whenever possible to stores where they know shoppers crave it. The problem has always been operational. Almost half of the U.S. population lives in a state with cold winter and a correspondingly short local growing season (defined as five months or less). Before long-distance produce supply chains, people in these states canned their fresh local produce for winter consumption. They also did not have as global a vegetable palate as today’s urban dweller. Roots and tubers store well without processing, but what about a bucket of mixed greens?

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The 10 Best (and Worst) States to Eat Local

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by bistrokids

“Eat local,” they say—but where is local eating the easiest?

A Vermont-based group has released its annual ranking of states based on the availability of local food to the average citizen. It’s the third annual Locavore Index to be compiled by Strolling of the Heifers (here’s a hint for the complete story on where that quirky name came from: It’s a play on Pamplona’s running of the bulls).

How does a relatively small nonprofit tally the availability of local food nationwide? It’s pretty clever, really. The index comprises four publicly available statistics per state:

• Number of farmers markets

• Number of CSAs

• Number of food hubs (i.e., “facilities that handle the aggregation, distribution and marketing of foods from a group of farms and food producers in a region”)

• Percentage of school districts with farm-to-school programs

The first three are divided per 100,000 residents. Farmers markets and CSAs are weighted at 30 percent each, while food hubs and farm-to-school programs are weighted at 20 percent.


Your kids LOVE Pumpkin Treats

Posted in Bistro Kids recipes with tags , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2013 by bistrokids


Your kids LOVE Pumpkin Treats!

pump1In culinary classes this month, your children are learning all about fiber, anti-oxidants, beta carotene…and the delicious fall squash that contains all three: PUMPKIN!
They learned how to make (and eat) a delicious pumpkin treat…and begged us to send home the recipe. How could we deny them!

pump2Dry Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
1 egg
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cut butter or smart balance
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla

pump3 Mix wet and dry ingredients thoroughly in separate bowls. Slowly add wet to dry ingredients until incorporated. Roll dough into 1/4 cup balls and drop on parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean from center. These treats will be soft, almost muffin top like texture.Yield 20-24 treats.

GenZ Kids Have Their Say in the Beverage Aisles, and it’s Often ‘NO’

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by bistrokids

We’ve all seen children asking their parents to buy them something in a grocery store – some politely and others more persistently – or rejecting healthy options mom may like with a resounding “no.” But how much effect does their behavior really have on what goes into the cart? In the portion-pack beverage category, the answer is “quite a lot” according to research conducted by Tetra Pak.

Whether it’s a grade-schooler tugging on mom’s skirt or a toddler stretching and pointing from their perch in the grocery cart, kids tend to get what they want when it comes to beverages they’ll be expected to drink, says the research. And the numbers are impressive: interviews with nearly 500 shoppers show that almost 80 percent of all purchases are influenced by kid requests, and a full 55 percent of planned purchases are specifically made by such requests. And when children are along on the shopping trip – as they are about 60 percent of the time – they are more likely to not only express an opinion, but get their way. Only 20 percent of shoppers say their buying decisions have nothing to do with what their children want.

And kids today may be even more opinionated and persistent than their predecessors, market researchers say. Today’s American toddlers-to-teens are known as Gen Z, a demographic that includes 61.2 million youth 14-and-under, according to U.S. Census figures. While kids at the older end of this spectrum often buy their own beverages, parents make the choice for those at the other end. And as a whole, this is a “purposefully rebellious” generation of digital natives, whose sedentary pastimes have also marked them as the most unhealthy and overweight generation, according to The Intelligence Group’s “Cassandra Report: Gen Z.”

But savvy brand marketing can persuade moms – who decide what goes in the cart – while still appealing to kids by keeping these points in mind.

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Menus of Change

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by bistrokids


Dear Kiersten,

The Hartman Group recently released an important study on not only what consumers say but also what they actually do when it comes to buying sustainable foods. Here is the Menus of Change™ take on a few of the report’s findings, along with how they connect to the Menus of Change principles that you can find online.

Please feel free to share this information by forwarding our Menus of Change news link or referring people to our website And we hope you’ll share your thoughts on Twitter using #CIAMOC.

Consumers say they want to be sustainable and support companies that behave sustainably. But, as any food marketer knows, they don’t always do what they say. Eighty-four percent of consumers say they consider sustainability when shopping, according to The Hartman Group’s 2013 Sustainability Report, but only 26 percent usually or always do base decisions on concerns for the environment or social well-being.

Moreover, consumers don’t always give companies credit for their sustainability efforts. When a company boasts of an environmental, social, or economic effort, 45 percent think it’s just a marketing ploy and 22 percent believe they were forced to do it by government regulation or shareholders.

What’s a company to do?

The key is shifting the message. While many consumers do want to hear about how the food they buy and eat benefits the environment or the local economy, most are interested in how the more sustainable product can help them—whether that is because it tastes good, is more healthful, costs less, or works better than competing products.

Here is a roundup of Hartman’s advice on key food products:

•Fish: Consumers consider seafood a healthier protein, so delivering health benefits is more important than low prices. Sixty-five percent prioritize taste, while 58 percent focus on health. Just 27 percent want fish to be a money-saving product.
•Meat: Good flavor is most important here. But unlike the other foods Hartman rated, environmental pitches work well with meat. More than half of consumers choose meat based on how the animal was raised because they care about animal welfare and because they believe it improves the nutrition of the meat as well.
•Produce: Consumers believe that produce is expensive so it has to look and taste good to draw them in. This is true in retail but also in food service: a well-presented salad may be more appealing than a salad bar.
•Chocolate: Consumers are looking for a treat with chocolate, so, no surprise, health and money don’t rate as important factors. Emphasize indulgence, whimsy, and, of course, taste.

Follow your consumers’ lead and further encourage their choices in these categories by using the relevant Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus developed by the CIA and Harvard School of Public Health:

•Serve More Kinds of Seafood More Often. Introduce diners to a wider variety of seafood sourced from responsibly managed fisheries.
•Red Meat: Smaller Portions, Less Frequently. Feature red meat in a supporting role to healthier plant-based choices, and also experiment with red meat as a condiment.
•Think Produce First. Focus on fruits and vegetables first—with great diversity across all meals and snacks.
•Reduce Added Sugar. Turn to ingredients like fruits, whole grains, dark chocolate, nuts, and healthy oils as alternatives in desserts, and substantially reduce sugar across the menu.

We look forward to reading your comments or questions on our Facebook page (CIA Industry Leadership) or Twitter (#CIAMOC).

—Your colleagues at The Culinary Institute of America


He’s Baaaaaack! Meet Chesterfield Day Schools Chef, Matt Kern

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2013 by bistrokids


Chef Matt is a St. Louis native. A chef, food enthusiast, and agriculturalist, with 15 years of experience within the food industry. He is also a local heirloom farmer, with a passion for teaching others about good food. This makes for a perfect compliment to our Bistro Kids Farm 2 School team. He enjoys the connection of community and local food, and the conversations it creates.

We are very pleased to welcome Matt back to the team. He’s has proven to be a very valuable piece to the Bk puzzle and we are very excited to see what he will create and teach the students at Chesterfield!

Meet Amanda Lalla, Head Chef at Bishop Ward High School

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 26, 2013 by bistrokids

Meet Amanda Lalla, Head Chef at Bishop Ward High School

My love affair with food started at a young age, I remember always sneaking tastes of whatever confection my grandmother was making.” Chef Amanda Lalla

I received my AOS in Culinary Arts from L’Ecole Culinaire in Saint Louis, MO. While attending school I worked at Sunset 44 Bistro in Kirkwood, MO. I was able to find my soul as a chef working for Bob Menendez. He showed me the inner workings of a restaurant, how important every detail and job was. “Nothing is beneath you in a kitchen” he would always say. You can not expect anyone else to do a job you are not willing to do yourself. Cooking is my passion; I hope to share this passion with as many people as I can.