In search of the truth, Special Agents William Neal and Patrick Cuccaro explore the mysterious Green world of sustainable special events and catering. What myths will they shatter? What will they uncover?
The Truth is out there…so we’re told.
In Episode 8, William and Patrick introduced you to a unique local fair trade coffee roaster and shared some of their favorite facts on coffee and food. This episode serves to protect you from the “Green posers”—to help ensure your hard-earned dollars are well-spent.
WILLIAM: I went to a neighborhood holiday party not too long ago and had the experience of being a guest—for once!—instead of running the show. That was fantastic!
PATRICK: Yes, let’s set the record straight on that one. OK, full disclosure here, I’m writing this blog because I want more dinner invitations! Most people who are friends with chefs and caterers don’t invite us to dinner because they worry that we’ll be critical. Just the opposite—we’re usually so happy to be on the receiving end that you could serve us anything and we’d LOVE YOU!
WILLIAM: Yes, absolutely! That was definitely the case recently, until I found out that my neighbor had hired a “catering company” that said the menu was sustainable and the ingredients organic. They even stated that the herbs were from the garden in their own backyard!
PATRICK: So where was the problem with that, Special Agent Neal? You and I have always loved our other local catering friends.
WILLIAM: Look, nobody can ever dispute the need for “clean” food and, therefore, the case for organic and carefully sourced ingredients. But the problem is simple. Several of the products were not really organic, and some actually came from a “big box membership store”. There is nothing local or sustainable about imported, conventionally grown summer veggies in the dead of winter or the obvious food miles traveled by that cheese display! No thought was put into local sourcing, AT ALL! And to top it all off, the “caterer” was really someone’s uncle!
PATRICK: OK, I get the fact that some of the representations were false, but what is really being uncovered here? My uncle is a killer cook!
WILLIAM: The double whammy is what must be uncovered! First, if someone holds themselves out as providing Green and sustainable products and services, then they should be authentic. The purchaser deserves the real thing. There’s no place for Greenwashing. Ever. Besides, in our city and in the Southeast in general, there are terrific resources available just about any time of the year if you look for them.
Secondly, the unlicensed caterer, in this case someone’s well-intentioned yet naive uncle, most likely cooks in his home. And that means that they aren’t inspected by the county health department. And that also means that they’re not likely to be ServSafe Certified, which is an essential part of any food handler’s core training. PLUS, most unlicensed caterers carry no business insurance that protects the client and the client’s guests. What happens if someone gets sick from their improperly prepared or improperly transported food? That would certainly put a damper on anyone’s holiday spirit, or for that matter any time of year.
PATRICK: It’s SOAPBOX time! To top it off, they probably don’t have workers comp insurance either. Can you say “lawsuit”? And most of these unlicensed operators don’t pay any taxes. So, it’s actually a triple-whammy in my book: Greenwashing, putting guests at risk, and not paying taxes.
WILLIAM: The public deserves authentic, safe and REAL choices.
There’s more to this story.
PATRICK: That’s right, Special Agent Neal. We’ll definitely investigate this one further, and I’ll try not to get on my soapbox again, but there are no guarantees. Right now, I can’t stop thinking about winter veggies…
To be continued…
Have you ever suspected that you have been the victim of something represented as Green, organic or sustainable that truly was not? Please, share with us your experience(s) in the comments section below.
See our list of “The Top 10 Questions Most Caterers Hope You WON’T Ask” by clicking on the cabbage above!
Join us next week when Special Agents Patrick Cuccaro and William Neal explore how to make dreary winter blues into a spectacular event…how to make winter veggies a celebration!
This week’s 3Rs…
REVEALED: Environmental Working Group
REVERED: Elemental Impact | Holly Elmore