Know Where Restaurant Ingredients Come From

| October 6, 2012

farm to table Some diners don’t think about where the food on their plate comes from, while others ask detailed questions of their restaurant server and sometimes the chef. The more inquisitive diners do so for a variety of reasons, such as avoiding allergic reaction and eating local and organic ingredients whenever possible. If you would like to dine in a place that can provide you with specific information about its ingredients, farm-to-table and large-chain restaurants prove your best bet.

Farm-to-Table Restaurants

A farm-to-table restaurant uses ingredients from local farms and farmers’ markets in its dishes. For example, Quiessence in Phoenix is actually located on the Farm at South Mountain. In addition to the organic ingredients from nearby fields, others come from area farmers, herdsmen and artisans. The servers at Quiessence go into great detail when describing the available dishes, and they can tell diners the exact sources of the ingredients.

The move by Americans to eat more healthy foods has caused an increase in the number of farm-to-table restaurants across the country. Eating local ingredients also has its ecological benefits, as food that has fewer miles to travel makes less of an impact on the planet in its transportation.

Large Chain Restaurants

Because of the volume of diners that a chain restaurant serves across its numerous locations, it typically has a standard menu for all. This allows the kitchens to function as efficiently as possible, with the chain providing prepared components to the individual locations.

Standardized ingredients also allow chains to tell diners exactly what ingredients dishes contain, and often, where those ingredients come from. McDonald’s, for example, not only makes its nutritional and ingredient information available online but also provides information about its suppliers; one of the restaurant chain’s coffee suppliers values sustainability, a trait many coffee drinkers value. The nutritional information allows someone with dietary restrictions and allergies to see ahead of time what items on the menu are safe to eat.

Even restaurants that do not qualify as farm-to-table or that do not make ingredient information available online may be able provide such details about their dishes.

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Category: Food & Dining, What's in Your Food

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.