Embracing Local Sourcing and Creative Planning for an Eco-conscious Culinary Experience

Embracing Local Sourcing and Creative Planning for an Eco-conscious Culinary Experience

In the hospitality industry, the need for sustainable practices and reducing food waste has become more crucial than ever. Within various domains, including the culinary sphere, the recognition of integrating sustainable methods into operations has become vital. David Baron, Executive Chef at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds, exemplifies the commitment. Through his initiative of local food sourcing, Chef Baron has successfully elevated the sustainability of Asilomar’s cuisine while substantially curbing food waste. In fact, approximately 70% of the meat and vegetables used at Asilomar are locally sourced, further enhancing their sustainable practices.

Local Food Sourcing: A Key to Sustainability

Chef Baron’s philosophy revolves around locally sourced ingredients, firmly believing that sustainability lies in supporting local farmers and producers. Asilomar Conference Grounds is conveniently located near the bountiful Salinas Valley, often referred to as America's Salad Bowl, due to its diverse vegetable production. To bring his vision to life, Chef Baron has formed strong partnerships with local farms such as Coke Farm and Swank Farms. When asked about the partnership with Aramark Destinations, Dick Swank said, “Working directly with chefs is truly fantastic. Usually, big companies buy off mainstream vendors, but we enjoy supplying Asilomar with freshly picked produce, ensuring maximum flavor and freshness through same-day delivery.” By collaborating with these local establishments, Asilomar not only ensures the highest quality of ingredients but also cultivates a sustainable and traceable supply chain. This commitment to local sourcing significantly reduces the carbon footprint by minimizing transportation and refrigeration requirements. Thanks to the emphasis on prioritizing seasonal ingredients from these trusted farms, Asilomar Conference Grounds delivers dishes that celebrate freshness, flavor, and the vibrant local community.

Reducing Food Waste Through Planning

Addressing the significant concern of food waste in the culinary world, Chef Baron has wholeheartedly committed himself to combat this issue. Through meticulous planning and thoughtful purchasing techniques, he has implemented ingenious strategies that drastically reduce waste in the kitchen. One noteworthy approach involves adapting the menu in the employee dining room based on the surplus ingredients available. By cleverly pivoting and adjusting the menu to utilize the excess food, Chef Baron ensures that no ingredient goes to waste. Furthermore, to prevent unnecessary food purchases, Asilomar Conference Grounds proactively reduces the order size of the next food delivery. This conscientious approach minimizes waste and serves as a testament to Chef Baron's culinary expertise, resulting in unique and delectable creations that showcase his resourcefulness and culinary prowess.

Educating Guests and Staff

Asilomar Conference Grounds extends its commitment to sustainability beyond the kitchen. Currently participating in a pilot program with the World Wildlife Fund, guests are educated about food waste through innovative signage. The signs underscore the importance of embracing sustainable choices on a daily basis, as they have the power to create enduring impacts over time. By raising awareness, Asilomar fosters a culture of sustainability that extends beyond the dining hall. The aim is for guests to apply the sustainability lessons learned at Asilomar Conference Grounds in their own lives.

Executive Chef David Baron’s relentless pursuit of sustainability and waste reduction has transformed Asilomar Conference Grounds into a haven of eco-conscious dining. Through the emphasis on local food sourcing, meticulous planning, and education initiatives, Asilomar Conference Grounds has made a dining experience that is not only delicious but also ethically responsible. Asilomar stands as a shining example of how a commitment to sustainability can enhance both the culinary experience and the well-being of the environment.

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The Asilomar Team

Asilomar Hotel & Conference Grounds, with over 105 years on the Monterey Peninsula, offers a unique setting that combines beautiful architecture, historic charm and a treasure trove of memories for our guests. With plenty of activities for people of different ages and interests - you will never have a dull moment here. With its windswept location on the California coast – Asilomar is exactly where you should be if you seek to disconnect and unplug from your everyday routine. In the spirit of Asilomar’s rich history, we’re excited to share our new blog adventure. Our Sales and Conference Services Team have created great content and helpful ideas regarding group business, travel, weddings, and Asilomar’s sustainability efforts.