Real Food Baby Steps at Burger King?
Jeff Gangemi Mar 08, 2012 Real Food 0 comments
We at FarmPlate came across an interesting column/interview from EcoSalon.com, in which writer Anna Brones interviews the executive chef of Burger King, one of the mightiest of the mighty fast food chains.
The overall question she poses in the piece is, “Can fast food be real food?” It’s hard not to jump to a quick answer to that question, so maybe a more nuanced approach is helpful. For instance, perhaps a useful alternative question should be, “Why can’t fast food be real-er?”
And that’s what is interesting about this piece. Brones explores that very question with one of the few people in this world capable of making fast food become real-er… And she finds that Burger King is taking baby steps – using fresh eggs, using smoked meat instead of spray-on smoke flavoring, and other things like that.
Another thing Brones finds is that, through a comparison of nationwide chain Burger King and more regional Burgerville (think 38 locations, compared to Burger King’s thousands), is that real – and local – is just plain hard to scale.
Burgerville prides itself on maintaining relationships with local farms and uses pastured, vegetarian-fed and antibiotic-free beef from those farms. But when asked if scaling Burgerville’s model to the Burger King level is even possible, here’s the answer from Jeff Harvey, president and CEO of Burgerville: “When you are committed to local you are committed to lower capacity. If you start to push local beyond what the capacity of the land is, you move beyond sustainability.”
Maybe baby steps are all that’s really possible for a huge public company like Burger King. But should we be content with baby steps?
Read on for a great treatment of this fascinating subject.
“The food coverage approach at EcoSalon can be summed up as: ‘Good food, from good places, with good people.’ That can be broadly interpreted, but as the Foodie Underground columnist I get the chance to take a look at the food movement from the perspective of food lovers. After all, “from supper clubs to mini farmers’ markets to beyond…weekly!” was the original thrust of this column. So I was intrigued when I was approached by Burger King to interview the fast food chain’s Executive Chef John Koch. With a new bacon-related launch – we’re living in a “Bacon Nation,” I’ve been told – they had most likely come across one of my various references to bacon-wrapped-anything that has topped foodie menus over the course of the last two years.
Being someone who, for the most part, strictly abstains from fast food, I was interested to see what someone who plans the menu of a nationwide chain had to say about the process behind what they serve, where it comes from and its nutritional value….”
Burgerville image courtesy of Burgerville. Defunct Burger King king image courtesy of Forbes.