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"Will Chefs Be Part of the Climate Solution?"

Our co-founder, Anthony Myint, wrote an opinion piece published by the James Beard Foundation today, having participated in the JBF Chef's Boot Camp for Policy and Change this year. We are reposting here because we share Anthony's passion for harnessing chefs' capacity to have a positive impact on the world beyond their restaurants.  

The concept of global warming can feel paralyzing. It’s so vast and distant that it’s hard to prioritize, and this is especially true for chefs who are already worried about whether their dishwasher is showing up for work, if their orders are coming, or how to make payroll this month. But chefs care about climate change: our livelihoods depend on nature and taking care of people, and chefs have a can-do attitude. Action is now more important than ever before, as we face President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, and the detachment of a trillion-ton iceberg from the Antarctic.

The food system accounts for about half of all greenhouse gases, and we know that buying local and organic is not going to work for every kind of operation. Besides, a commitment to good sourcing only accounts for some of the decisions that a restaurant faces. After all, what is the actual impact of using organic onions for stock, and is it worth the price? What do I do if I can’t afford solar panels? What if my customers won’t pay double the price for grassfed beef?

What if I told you that fried chicken can be an environmental act? Or that French wine can be a more sustainable choice than a bottle from a local vineyard?

Figuring out a restaurant’s carbon footprint offers a concrete, measurable way to contextualize climate change and convert environmental ideals into climate-smart decisions. For example, if the carbon footprint of the feedlot burger is four times that of fried chicken, then choosing between the two becomes less abstract. Likewise, we know that the sashimi shipped from Japan is a bad choice for the environment, but wine imported by boat, cellared below ground, and produced from a vineyard that has been biodynamic for decades, has a much lower carbon footprint than the local wine that’s been air-conditioned and chemically fertilized.

Chefs can educate themselves, make changes, and can implement energy-saving measures like turning down their water heater to 140°F, but there will still always be some environmental impact: there are still ingredients and they are still cooked.

The last thing diners want to talk about is how a restaurant is saving energy by cleaning the compressors more often, or how switching the steak dish to a pork chop reduces the carbon footprint: it’s too incremental of a conversation. But diners can grasp the big idea that a restaurant is carbon neutral in the same way that they are happy to pay a premium for free-trade coffee or an electric car.

We started Zero Foodprint with the goal of inviting chefs and restaurants to be carbon neutral and then to get enough places on board to make that a search category through Yelp, OpenTable, Resy, and more. In the same way that infrastructural changes, like building the electric charging stations necessary to power electric cars, help to take alternative fuel mainstream, achieving a critical mass of tweaks in choice for diners would shift the restaurant industry.

We already have 30 restaurants that have pledged to be carbon neutral every day, and to celebrate Earth Day, we got 100 restaurants to be carbon neutral for one day. We’re starting a movement to align sustainability and dining in a way that can include any restaurant, whether you’re fast food or craft barbecue. At Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco, we contribute about 10 cents per diner to greenhouse gas reduction projects in the food system to offset our entire carbon footprint. At Corey Lee’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant Benu, the contribution is about 35 cents per diner, which makes the entire luxurious 25-course meal of a lifetime also environmentally responsible. I can’t imagine a single person choosing not to go to Benu over an additional 35 cents, and neither can Corey. He’s committed all of his restaurants to being carbon neutral.

This is the other commonality among chefs that I’ve come to appreciate: pride. We earn the right to charge appropriately for something with integrity: food that is truly good. This is more or less the highlight of our work—making food as good as we can make it. Food can be part of the climate solution, and I’m calling for more leaders to join the movement to make our food system better. Let’s establish sustainability as a culinary virtue.

Learn more at ZeroFoodprint.org or by emailing zerofoodprint@gmail.com.

Anthony Myint is the co-founder of the Perennial, Mission Chinese Food, and Commonwealth Restaurants, and the non-profit Zero Foodprint.

Photo: Alanna Hale

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Learn more about the JBF Impact programs.

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August Events

EAT DRINK SF - FRiday VIP ROOM

Friday 8/25 

Eat Drink SF is back August 24 - 27! Eat Drink SF is San Francisco's premier food and drink festival celebrating the Bay Area's world class culinary community. Tickets are on sale now and selling fast. Get yours today: http://eatdrink-sf.com/

(We'll be offering up tastes of The Perennial in the VIP area on Friday.)

 

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1/2-OFF TAPATIO TEQUILA

Saturday 8/26

Check out our new beet shrub cocktail Sick Beets, Bro (pictured) featuring Tapatio Anejo or our Perennial favorite (see what we did there?) Grapefruit Three Ways made with Tapatio 110, house-made grapefruit syrup, distilled zest, and of course fresh, grapefruit juice (both $6 for the night).

Plus $4 shots of Tapatio Blanco andTapatio Reposada, or Tapatio Anejo for $5. Compare and contrast and find your tequila sweet spot. Bar and dining room. 4pm-close. 

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GROWING A REVOLUTION Book Party

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GROWING A REVOLUTION Book Party

This Saturday, June 10, we are delighted to welcome David Montgomery, to celebrate the publication of his book, Growing a Revolution: Rebuilding our Soil. This book is pretty much a roadmap for our hopes and dreams regarding climate change: the idea that we can draw down CO2 by changing our agriculture. We also loved his books Dirt and The Hidden Half of Nature.)

David will be joined in conversation by Kiera Butler, Senior Editor at Mother Jones and host of the magazine's food podcast, BITE. He will be introduced by filmmaker Barbara Koons Garcia, director of Symphony of the Soil and The Future of Food

Doors at 4:00, Program at 4:30, book signing (through Omnivore Books) at 5:30. 

Free event, but we'd appreciate if you'd register here so we can plan ahead. 

 

Praise for Growing a Revolution:

“Montgomery has the rare talent of making complex scientific topics not only understandable but truly fascinating.  Growing a Revolution is both exceptionally enlightening and tremendously enjoyable.  Highly recommended reading.”

—Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Defending Beef and Righteous Porkchop

“Soil's greatest living advocate, David Montgomery, has done it again. Growing a Revolution proposes the radical idea that by improving soil health, we can heal not only the earth but ourselves as well. A call to action that underscores a common goal: to change the world from the ground up.”

—Dan Barber, chef and author of The Third Plate

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Sunday Suppers

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Sunday Suppers

Announcing Sunday Suppers and guest chefs

The Perennial is changing things up

Starting this weekend, we're switching to a new schedule--from now on, we'll be open on Sundays for a more casual Sunday Supper menu. We'll offer a $49 three-course menu in the dining room and about once a month, we'll also begin welcoming guest chefs to join us on Sundays, beginning with Nichole Accettola (chef of forthcoming Kantine, June 4), Sean Baker (former chef of Gather, July 16), Nick Balla (Bar Tartine/Motze, date TBD).

On Sundays, we'll be opening at 4pm, perfect for an early dinner after a matinee at one of the nearby theaters. We will be closed on Mondays from May 15 onward. 

 

For Sunday June 4, Nichole  Accettola will offer a Rye, Pork, and Milk menu that previews her Scandinavian cuisine at Kantine, with a nod toward The Perennial’s sustainable mission.

Nichole writes:

When I moved from Boston to Copenhagen in the late 90’s, I felt like my life immediately became simplified. There, movies at the cinema started either at 6pm or 9pm, bikes outnumbered cars and there were only a handful of breakfast cereals to choose from at the supermarket. Danish cuisine was and still is, in many ways, simple. Many of the same basic ingredients are used time and time again, but the Danes are experts in using them in a multitude of ways. This innovativeness inspired me to choose three common Scandinavian ingredients - rye, pork and milk – for the June 4th dinner menu.

Each dish from the proposed three-course menu will contain these three ingredients.

 

Small Plates (served at once)

Sweetbread, leeks, pickled mustard seeds

Herb and little gem salad, Grandma’s dressing,

Rye and whey porridge, straw-smoked fresh cheese, heart, sorrel

 

Main Course

Pork shoulder roll, rosehips, fennel

 

Dessert

Buttermilk cotta, cherries and green almond shortbread

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Rising Star Chef!!!!

We are so proud of our chef, Chris Kiyuna, who was just named a 2017 Rising Star Chef by The San Francisco Chronicle.

As Chronicle Food Editor Paolo Lucchesi wrote, "Our Rising Stars are leaders — culinary leaders, kitchen leaders, community leaders, thought leaders. They have missions, they hope that food can be more than sustenance or celebration, and they bring together communities." 

Here at The Perennial, we agree. We've been lucky to have Chris on The Perennial team since the very beginning--or even before the beginning, since he signed on about two years before the restaurant opened--and he has developed a culinary style that is not only sustainable, but also highly personal and as full of integrity as the man himself. 

Fun fact: Chris is married to 2015 Chronicle Bar Star Karri Cormican Kiyuna. The stars align!

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Earth Day 2017: Two ways to Celebrate

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Earth Day 2017: Two ways to Celebrate

Yes, Earth Day is Every Day, especially here at The Perennial, but we always appreciate a chance to party. So this weekend, we're doing it up all weekend. 

 

Friday, April 21

Bike Powered Margaritas with SF's Dept of the Environment. Plus drink specials on Long Root Ale (courtesy of Patagonia Provisions), so you can happily raise a glass to the earth with the only beer made from perennial grain!

 

Saturday, April 22

Together with dozens of restaurants around the world, we are offsetting our carbon footprint today through Zero Foodprint, in honor of Earth Day. Each of the participating restaurants is making a donation based on the number of diners that day.--but even if you can't join us for Earth Day, you can get involved by sharing your thoughts on how much carbon neutrality is worth to you, as a diner, by visiting Zero Foodprint's site and taking this poll.  

Plus the bar specials launched Friday!

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Wine News + VICE News = Good News

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Wine News + VICE News = Good News

We're featuring Vinca Minor Wine this week, with two events on Friday, March 31. 

  • Happy Hour (4-6pm in the bar): Vinca Minor winemaker Jason Charles will be in our bar to chat about wine & sustainability -- among other things -- during happy hour in our bar. Bar Bites and featured wines are 25% off in our bar 4-6pm Mon-Fri. No reservation required.

  • Wine Dinner, 5:30-10pm in the dining room: Enjoy a four-course dinner (plus house made bread and butter) with Vinca Minor wine pairings. 3-course, pre-theater menu with pairing also available. Reserve through OpenTable or by calling 415-500-7788

Meanwhile, VICE News filmed The Perennial (and our greenhouse) for HBO. Watch here!

"The Power of Fish Poop at the Perennial" aired on VICE News Tonight on March 16 on HBO. Award for best line probably goes to Nathan, who defines his own "personal mantra around sustainability" apropos of mouse melons in the greenhouse:

"The way you subvert the dominant paradigm," Nathan explains, "is by having way more fun than them and making sure they know it."

Zing!

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January 20th

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January 20th

When The Perennial opened on January 20, 2016, we weren’t thinking about presidential politics—we were picking the first day that we felt ready to welcome the public to experience a project we’d been working on for years. Now, however, as we approach our first anniversary, Inauguration Day looms over the calendar, dominating most of our thoughts and feelings about January 20.

And yet we feel it’s worthwhile to reflect on the first year of The Perennial. From the beginning, we set out to prove that a sustainable restaurant could be just as delicious as any other restaurant, and we feel that we’ve done that, with national accolades from Bon Appétit and other magazines, plus local love from the press, our peers, and above all, our diners. There have been moments when we’ve worried that our mission has diverted attention from our food and drinks, and other moments when we’ve relished the chance to share our message of regenerative agriculture with the world, like when we spoke at noma's MAD conference, or when we took over the Asian Art Museum with an exhibit on food and sustainability. This has been a year of highs and lows, with a lot of fun and a lot of work. That’s the life of a restaurant.

Filling buckets of compost to plant with the redwoods. The sun came out a little later.

Filling buckets of compost to plant with the redwoods. The sun came out a little later.

So, for our first birthday, instead of celebrating on January 20th, we decided to take a trip with our staff over Martin Luther King weekend, which would allow us to celebrate our values: banding together against climate change, with optimism and great food. Along with friends from CUESA, Slow Food SF, and other members of our community, we planted more than 200 redwoods and 150 willows along Stemple Creek in Marin County, as part of an effort to restore the riparian ecosystem and draw down CO2 from the atmosphere with help from perennial plants. (And trees that can live thousands of years are the ultimate perennials.) Then we ate lunch and basked in the sunshine and the beauty. It was a moment to celebrate what we can accomplish, together.

Of course, a few hundred trees will not stop climate change. Neither will a single restaurant, no matter how hard we work. We know this, but we also know that we are onto something hopeful and local, in spite of the alarming news on the national level. What can we do, when our incoming government denies climate change? Well, for one thing, we can organize politically -- but we can also engage in direct action like tree-planting or gardening, or grocery shopping with an eye on climate change. We can create the conditions necessary to support farmers and ranchers whose practices offer our best hope against climate. As we look back on a year at The Perennial, that’s what we believe is important, and that’s what we’re going to work on in the coming year as well. We knew when we started that it we were taking on a big challenge, and we’re going to keep at it, year after year. You know, perennially.

Day One: at least we had barstools.

Day One: at least we had barstools.

One year later: the rug really ties the room together! (Not to mention the banquet table.)

One year later: the rug really ties the room together! (Not to mention the banquet table.)

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Last Minute Gift Idea

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Last Minute Gift Idea

I've read that experiences make the best gifts, and if you couldn't snag Hamilton tickets, we have another experience that could make a great gift. (And if you are going to Hamilton, we're just around the corner from the theater!) 

On January 15, we're launching a new event series with CUESA and Slow Food SF that's all about becoming a part of the change you want to see in the New Year.  We're calling it a Ground Work Party, and it means getting a hands-on experience of regenerative agriculture.

We'll meet at The Perennial and travel via party bus to Stemple Creek Ranch in Marin. Our goal is to plant 200 tress as part of helping to transition parts of the ranch towards carbon farming. What’s carbon farming you might ask? Come find out! Fourth generation rancher Loren Poncia will be our host, walking guests through the processes by which cattle and ranchers (and diners) are part of the climate change solution. Lunch (featuring Stemple Creek beef) will be cooked by The Perennial's own Chris Kiyuna and Anthony Myint, with plenty of drinks and conversation. 

Cocktail hour starts upon boarding at 9:30am, serious tree planting starts at 11:00am and a cookout prepared by Chris Kiyuna and Anthony Myint (The Perennial) will follow. Ticket includes transportation, food, beverages and the costs of adopting a tree (which is not cheap!). If you're reading this and you're a bluegrass band, we'd love to trade you tickets for a pop-up show. Or meet us there, if you're coming from outside SF. 

Tickets here.

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Events! Party on New Year's +Tree-planting Party in the New Year!

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Events! Party on New Year's +Tree-planting Party in the New Year!

Start the New Year as a climate hero!  Join a tree-planting party and farm tour to support carbon farming at Stemple Creek Ranch, sponsored by CUESA, Slow Food SF, and The Perennial! Your efforts will be rewarded with a great meal prepared by Chris Kiyuna and Anthony Myint of The Perennial, along with drinks and stimulating conversation. Stemple Creek Ranch was one of the first farms to participate in a decade-long carbon farming trial by the Marin Carbon Project; since 2014, Stemple Creek has implemented many climate-beneficial features on the ranch, but more trees mean more CO2 pulled out of the air, and this is where we can lend a hand! The willows and redwoods we plant will sequester about 3 tons of carbon per year—over their lifetime, that’s equivalent to 27,000 gallons of gasoline. After we plant the trees, we'll take a walking tour with fourth-generation Stemple Creek rancher Loren Poncia, and learn how animals are a crucial part of regenerative agriculture: improving the soil, drawing down greenhouse gases, and making the pasture more resilient to drought. Then we'll enjoy food, drinks, and conversation in Stemple Creek's barn. The Perennial is bringing their beloved Kernza bread (made from a perennial grain whose deep roots also fight climate change), as part of a delicious lunch featuring Stemple Creek’s meat, produce from some of our favorite farms, and tasty adult beverages!  Meet us at The Perennial (59 Ninth St, SF) by 9:15 on Sunday morning of MLK weekend for a 9:30 departure. Please be prompt! We cannot wait for stragglers. You’re also welcome to make your own way to the ranch (choose your ticket level accordingly). We plan to return to The Perennial by 5:00pm, but traffic conditions can be unpredictable and we can’t guarantee an exact arrival time. Tickets include round-trip transportation from The Perennial in San Francisco in a comfortable bus and a delicious lunch featuring Stemple Creek Ranch beef and seasonal produce. Your ticket price also includes the cost of the willow or redwood saplings and compost – an investment in the ranch and in our climate future. The event will take place rain or shine! What to bring: Please bring shovels and gloves if you have them (we will have some). Wear closed-toed shoes appropriate for work in the dirt or mud, and layered clothing in case of cold. We also recommend a water bottle, sunscreen, and/or a change of clothes and shoes (in case of rain). Optional: snacks, a camera, and a book or other entertainment for the bus. The tour is geared toward adults and will probably not be enjoyable for young children. In addition, adult beverages will be served, but only to those guests who are 21 or older. Children who are likely to appreciate an adult-level tour and activity are welcome to come with their guardians. Please call if you have questions. Please note: Tickets are nonrefundable but are transferable to another guest for this tour. A note about price: CUESA is committed to providing accessible food system education to all. If you are interested in a scholarship for one of our farm tours, please email Carrie Sullivan (carrie@cuesa.org) for a scholarship application.

Start the New Year as a climate hero! 

Join a tree-planting party and farm tour to support carbon farming at Stemple Creek Ranch, sponsored by CUESA, Slow Food SF, and The Perennial! Your efforts will be rewarded with a great meal prepared by Chris Kiyuna and Anthony Myint of The Perennial, along with drinks and stimulating conversation. Stemple Creek Ranch was one of the first farms to participate in a decade-long carbon farming trial by the Marin Carbon Project; since 2014, Stemple Creek has implemented many climate-beneficial features on the ranch, but more trees mean more CO2 pulled out of the air, and this is where we can lend a hand! The willows and redwoods we plant will sequester about 3 tons of carbon per year—over their lifetime, that’s equivalent to 27,000 gallons of gasoline.

After we plant the trees, we'll take a walking tour with fourth-generation Stemple Creek rancher Loren Poncia, and learn how animals are a crucial part of regenerative agriculture: improving the soil, drawing down greenhouse gases, and making the pasture more resilient to drought. Then we'll enjoy food, drinks, and conversation in Stemple Creek's barn. The Perennial is bringing their beloved Kernza bread (made from a perennial grain whose deep roots also fight climate change), as part of a delicious lunch featuring Stemple Creek’s meat, produce from some of our favorite farms, and tasty adult beverages! 

Meet us at The Perennial (59 Ninth St, SF) by 9:15 on Sunday morning of MLK weekend for a 9:30 departure. Please be prompt! We cannot wait for stragglers. You’re also welcome to make your own way to the ranch (choose your ticket level accordingly). We plan to return to The Perennial by 5:00pm, but traffic conditions can be unpredictable and we can’t guarantee an exact arrival time.

Tickets include round-trip transportation from The Perennial in San Francisco in a comfortable bus and a delicious lunch featuring Stemple Creek Ranch beef and seasonal produce. Your ticket price also includes the cost of the willow or redwood saplings and compost – an investment in the ranch and in our climate future. The event will take place rain or shine!

What to bring: Please bring shovels and gloves if you have them (we will have some). Wear closed-toed shoes appropriate for work in the dirt or mud, and layered clothing in case of cold. We also recommend a water bottle, sunscreen, and/or a change of clothes and shoes (in case of rain). Optional: snacks, a camera, and a book or other entertainment for the bus.

The tour is geared toward adults and will probably not be enjoyable for young children. In addition, adult beverages will be served, but only to those guests who are 21 or older. Children who are likely to appreciate an adult-level tour and activity are welcome to come with their guardians. Please call if you have questions.

Please note: Tickets are nonrefundable but are transferable to another guest for this tour.

A note about price: CUESA is committed to providing accessible food system education to all. If you are interested in a scholarship for one of our farm tours, please email Carrie Sullivan (carrie@cuesa.org) for a scholarship application.

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