Chef Scott Pampuch, Bringing Sustainability to the U of M
Photo by Stephanie Meyer
Chef Scott Pampuch has long been an advocate of fresh flavors harvested and preserved from local farms. He’ll grab anyone near and begin impassioned, eloquent speeches about the value of supporting local farmers who care for the land and how we can change the world delicious one plate at a time. He began with his restaurant, serving entirely locally sourced ingredients long before farm-to-table was a thing. Now, his platform is bigger than ever, as the District Executive Chef at the University of Minnesota.
A James Beard Award semi-finalist, Pampuch had fans beating a path to his restaurant and then stunned the local food world when he decided to step away. From there he began a new journey of spreading the gospel of local, sustainable eating. For a while, that journey had him managing kitchens for country clubs and hotels, but those jobs took him far from home. Minneapolis is where his heart is. He returned and found this position at the U.
Small changes around the University came with utilizing the crops grown on campus, but it’s still a huge job. I asked Pampuch how he handles feeding all of these people and still using locally grown food, even in the dead of winter.
“Local produce is always going to be a challenge when it refers to cold climate regions. At the University of Minnesota, the conversation of local food has been ongoing for a number of years. The efforts every single year are continuing to expand in a number of areas of University Dining Services. We partner with many companies big and small around the state of Minnesota, including Bushel Boy.”
It’s an ongoing process to transition from enormous companies utilizing harmful chemicals for cheap and fast food production to those that practice the longer, slower, sustainable growing process. “The truly sustainable answer due to the conversation of energy, space, etc. is an ongoing conversation for many years to come.”