In 2011, Chefs Collaborative launched the Boston Local to build a community of food professionals committed to making sustainable practices second nature. To lead this charge we tapped a talented young chef named Richard Garcia, Executive Chef at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. In the interceding two and a half years Rich has put together some great gatherings for food professionals in the greater Boston area, and has left an indelible mark on Chefs Collaborative as a whole.
Rich’s time as Local Leader has come to a close and we just wanted to thank him and share with you his parting words–they are definitely worth reading! We also wanted to take the time to welcome Larry Leibowitz, chef and Regional Culinary Director for Guckenheimer, as the new Local Leader for the Boston Local.
Chefs Collaborative Network Manager
From Chef Rich Garcia:
It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to tell everyone that after two and a half years as the Boston Local Leader for Chefs Collaborative I am stepping aside and passing the torch to Larry Leibowitz. Larry has been one of the most involved Chefs Collaborative members here in the city, and has been an integral part of my last year as Local Leader. His commitment to responsible business practices is one of the best I’ve ever witnessed and I know that his energy, culinary expertise, and smart business acumen will help the Boston Local continue to expand and provide opportunities for you all.
My time as Local Leader has been as challenging as it has been rewarding. In seafood, we were able to host numerous events including a Nose-to-Tailfin dinner at my restaurant that started it all in 2011, as well as the first official Chefs Collaborative Trash Fish Dinner at Chefs Collaborative Board Chair, Michael Leviton’s restaurant, Area Four just this past spring. We introduced chefs to Trace & Trust via our quarterly get together, and we hosted over 50 attendees at Reds Best on the fish pier for a fish-butchering demo. On dry land, our introduction of local grass-fed beef from Archer Angus Farms both through a meeting in Boston and a separate field trip to Archer Angus in Maine, presented a true testament to the amazing quality products we have here in New England.
As Local Leader, I was able to represent us all and take part of the Soupstock event in Toronto where I was introduced to some of Canada’s best chefs, all participating in an effort to stop a Boston based hedge fund from developing the largest quarry in North America on some of Canada’s most prized and pristine farmland. (We won that battle by the way!) I was also part of a small group of chefs from New England that had the unique opportunity to visit with our local congressman and senators in an effort to increase awareness for our struggling fishing communities.
The opportunity to work with chefs both locally and nationally was one of my favorite things about being the Local Leader. To this day, I still field numerous phone calls and emails from Local members looking to source responsibly or just ask about how they can be more involved in the organization. The opportunities that were presented to me both professionally and personally because of my involvement were opportunities I would never have had without being selected to lead the Boston Local.
Most importantly to me, I feel that during my tenure, WE, together here in Boston, have left our mark on New England seafood. The combined efforts from fishermen, chefs, and other industry leaders has been overwhelming. I am proud to say, and whole heartedly believe, that because of the work we did, New Englanders are more aware about the serious issues that threaten or help support our fishing community. I feel that we have raised the awareness of underutilized species not only to our guests that dine on our establishments, but to the nation, as proved by our media exposure, including in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Seafood Business, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, Starchefs.com, on PBS, and more.
Boston is a community of chefs that has helped the rest of the nation to take a look at their seafood practices and purchasing decisions more closely.
My success is our success, and would not be anything without every one of you who supported me, supported Chefs Collaborative, and supported the mission we have been on for the past two and half years together as a Local network. For that I leave you with a huge THANK YOU.
I will still be involved with Chefs Collaborative and hope to continue to help the Boston Local to grow and support the local community of some of the best chefs in the country. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Larry or myself for any questions, advice, or to say hi!