Special Events

Puck moves to organic, humane catering

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck announced Thursday that he will serve food that avoids cruelty to animals in his culinary empire of 43 catering venues, 14 fine-dining restaurants and 80-plus cafes. The program has been developed in concert with the Humane Society of the United States. Puck made news in March when he served a completely organic menu at the Governors Ball following the Oscar ceremony at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

“Our guests want to know the meals they eat in my restaurants are made with fresh, natural, organic ingredients," Puck said. "They want to know where the produce comes from and how the animals are raised. In short, they want to eat healthy food in good conscience, and they know that we can make healthy taste delicious.”

FEELING 'WELL'

Puck said his new approach involves using fresh, seasonal, organic produce and naturally raised animals, embodying his slogan "Wolfgang's eating, loving and living," or "WELL."

The company described its program as "evolutionary" and said it will include a commitment to sourcing only from purveyors "who treat their animals, produce and the earth in which they grow it well." A "key initiative" of the program, the company said, will be a "humane" farm animal treatment program created in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States and with advice from animal-rights group Farm Sanctuary. The nine-point program aims to "stop the worst practices associated with factory farming, and positions the Wolfgang Puck Cos. as the first food establishments in full compliance with all of the HSUS' progressive recommendations," the company said.

9-POINT PROMISE

In the next few months, Wolfgang Puck Cos. and dining venues promised to:

  • Use and serve only eggs from cage-free hens not confined to battery cages.
  • Serve only all-natural or organic crate-free pork, on the premise that crates prevent pigs from turning around.
  • Serve only all-natural or organic crate-free veal.
  • Serve only certified sustainable seafood.
  • Eliminate foie gras from its menus.
  • Serve only all-natural or organic chicken and turkey meat from farms that are compliant with progressive animal welfare standards.
  • Continue to feature and expand certified organic selections on all menus.
  • Continue to offer and expand vegetarian selections on all menus.
  • Send a letter to suppliers regarding methods of poultry slaughter that involve less suffering.

The company also said that it commits to sourcing only farmers and purveyors who have passed its and third-party audits supporting the humane treatment of animals and will make "every effort" to shift all ingredients besides meat and fish to "all natural" and U.S. Department of Agriculture "organic" foodstuffs. It defines "all natural" as food with no added hormones, antibiotics and preservatives, vegetarian-fed, and grown under sustainable production and raising practices. It defines "organic" as having the same criteria as all-natural as well as having no pesticides and meeting other land management requirements.

PRESS PITCH

The company also said it would use its TV appearances and media exposure to educate consumers and provide "how to" information on using fresh, natural, organic and humanely treated ingredients.

For a story on how caterers are going "green," see the May issue of Special Events Magazine.

Photo by Special Events Magazine

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