These days, going local is the new gold standard for restaurants. Chefs and diners alike have a deeper appreciation for ingredients procured from nearby farms and waters, whether it’s because of the benefits to the environment and local economy, or simply because the food tastes better.
It is an opportune time for a new rating system to emerge, one that judges restaurants based on their commitment to sourcing local ingredients. The Good Food 100 Restaurants list will do just that by ranking eateries based on the percentage of goods they purchase from food producers and purveyors that are local (within the state), regional (within the areas of New England, the Mideast, the Great Lakes, the Plains, the Southeast, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, and the West, as defined by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis), and national (within the country).
The list will compare similar types of restaurants and food businesses, including quick service, fast casual, casual dining, fine dining, and food delivery services, within the same geographic area.
The data will be based on surveys that restaurants voluntarily submit to the Good Food Media Network. The responses will be audited by NSF International, a firm that provides inspection and certification services to the food, consumer products, and public health sectors.
The Good Food 100 is conducting surveys until March 31. So far, several notable chefs around the country have committed to participating, including New York City’s Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern and Untitled) and Bill Telepan (Oceana), Chicago’s Rick Bayless (Frontera restaurants), Denver’s Alex Seidel (Mercantile Dining & Provision), and Seattle’s Renee Erickson (Barnacle, The Walrus and the Carpenter).
“The Good Food 100 recognizes chefs and restaurants who truly care about how they source their food, and that in turn helps create more educated eaters for whom we cook,” said Suzanne Goin (Lucques in Los Angeles), one of the participating chefs, in a press release.
The list, which may go beyond 100 restaurants if there are more participants, is expected to be released to the public in June.
Sara Brito, co-founder of the Good Food Media Network, which will publish the rankings, had the idea of creating the rating system after conducting a pilot economic analysis of seven Denver restaurants. Chefs from those restaurants alone were responsible for a combined economic impact of $7.4 million from the foods they purchased within Colorado.
“Chefs are no longer just cooks. They are trusted authorities and advocates who have the power to educate and catalyze change among not only their colleagues, but the general public as well,” said Brito. “If a small number of chefs have such a profound impact, imagine the effect of hundreds across the country.”