Episodes

EPISODE 12: Got Healthy? Really?

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 11, Patrick quizzed William about one of his upcoming sustainability oriented brides. In this next episode, they continue along those same lines and explore some healthy habits related to food, exercise and the coming of spring.

 

PATRICK: I just finished off that last little bit of the killer stew recipe you gave me! I made a “mongo” batch full of all sorts of goodness. The beef I used was hormone-free and lean, the veggies were local and the tummies were so happy!

 

WILLIAM: So, Agent C, was that stew finished off before or AFTER you went to the gym?

 

PATRICK: Uh…I followed up with a trip to the gym. The stew had already warmed me up, so I worked up a good sweat.

 

WILLIAM: Speaking of sweating, have you tried to read the label on one of those supplement bottles lately? Or for that matter, just something off the shelves at the grocery store? Most of the time the listing of preservatives, stabilizers and whatever else they can think of will make you feel like you just ran a few miles. Scary, too. Seriously…what’s going on here?!

 

PATRICK: Agent N, we talked about green posers before, but I am sorry to say that the food manufacturing industry is one of the biggest offenders. From items labeled “natural” to out and out lies about the origin of certain items, the FDA has not done their job regulating labels to the benefit of the consumer.

 

WILLIAM: In our world today, so much has to get our attention to keep pace. I think these manufactures COUNT on us all being too busy to really read the labels. If we did, and I do, they would be out of a job, and they should be!

 

PATRICK: Sing it loud and clear, Agent N! I agree with you! Now you are climbing onto one of MY favorite soapboxes!

 

I work at living a sustainable existence as much as I can, and I believe that many others do, too. Every time I walk through one of the Atlanta’s farmers markets I feel like many of those around me feel the same way.

 

The odds are not in our favor unless we MAKE them favorable odds. So, taking the time to read and understand food labels is part of that. Here are some of the biggest label pitfalls to healthy eating:

 

Made with Whole Grains – If whole wheat flour is the third ingredient listed behind other flour products or worse, a filler product, then you can be confident that very little of the good stuff resides in that loaf of bread calling your name.

 

Made with Real Fruit – Shocking lie. In fact, the majority of manufactured food products with this label actually refer to what the USDA considers another form of sugar: blended not surprisingly with corn syrup. In other words, you just bought candy.

 

Contains Fiber – Straight from the folks you really can trust (to a degree) Good Housekeeping: Most fiber in our pre-packed food is actually synthetic with such lovely benefits as actually LOWERING GOOD CHOLESTEROL and do not help your body excrete anything, but a stomach ache.

 

WILLIAM: Holy Organic, Batman! I had no idea!

 

PATRICK: Most people don’t, Agent Neal. That is why, since everyone has a little bit of  detective in themselves, we simply MUST investigate further to keep our families safe! Education is power when it comes to health and sustainability.

 

WILLIAM: We all want these things to be easier, but when it gets right down to it, taking a couple of extra minutes to read labels while shopping isn’t so hard. Just like it makes sense to strive for fitness daily. Hey, are you still doing the Piedmont Park Conservancy fitness programs these days?

 

PATRICK: Yes, they have some great things happening at the park. Check out this link for some of the activities using the park as the backdrop. Our readers can even make it a weekend thing, if their schedules allows, by taking a brisk walk at the park and then attending the Piedmont Park “Green Market” we mentioned in Episode  5. I’m so excited that Green Market reopens next month!

 

Piedmont Park Fitness

 

WILLIAM: Great idea! You could also incorporate a few other activities. Perhaps start at Atlanta Botanical Garden for glimpses at the best of flora and fauna, take the walk around the park, hit the Green Market and then do like the Trappist Monks do and head out for a nice chilly craft beer!

 

PATRICK: I like the way you think, Agent N.!

 

WILLIAM: All this talk of food labels and lies has reminded me of something…remind me to tell you about my “chemically addicted poultry”. No, I’m not kidding!

 

To be continued…

 


 

What sustainability considerations factor into your exercise routine? Share with us in the comments section how you think Atlantans could make their workouts and exercise programs more sustainability minded.

 

Join us next week when Special Agents Patrick Cuccaro and William Neal explore…there’s no easy way to say this…when they explore “chicken on drugs!”

 


 

This week’s 3Rs…

 

What is Revealed?

 

REVEALED: Fitness Program at Piedmont Park

 

 

 

 

What is Revered?

 

REVERED: Atlanta Farmers Markets

 

 

 

 

What is Reviled?

 

REVILED: Date Label Confusion

 

 

 

 


 

Special Agent
Patrick Cuccaro
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Special Agent Patrick Cuccaro possesses an analytical mind and keen intellect. As Past Chair of the Georgia Restaurant Association (2012)—representing more than 4,000 restaurants and 100,000 employees—he casts a studied eye towards one of the country’s largest creators of waste—the food industry. Armed with a vision for…[more]

Special Agent
William Neal
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Agent William Neal is a hardened professional in the culinary industry. Well…maybe not hardened, since his favorite quip is “Never trust a skinny chef!” Agent Neal has held some interesting posts throughout his career. Starting as a chef, he became a…[more]

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Episodes

EPISODE 11: The Green Wedding

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 10, William and Patrick talked about how to brighten the winter months with a great winter stew made from delicious “uber tubers”. In this newest episode, talk has turned to a trend in weddings that is now becoming mainstream…sustainability!

 

PATRICK: I tried your stew recipe…Wow! It was just the ticket to add some warm and cozy to a cold winter’s day! Thanks for sharing, and I am excited to “investigate” some other recipes in the future with you. Hint, hint.

 

I spoke to Chef Ahmad the other day and he mentioned that you two are collaborating on some interesting, fun ideas for a Green wedding coming up this season. Tell me more!

 

WILLIAM: Yes, we came up with some terrific menu ideas using our local sources. Chef has done such a great job forging relationships with our sustainable suppliers and local farmers that it’s a pleasure to have so much to work with. It’s a really nice feeling to know that we are always well-supplied with produce in peak season—raw materials that come from the local area—and can “source” with confidence.

 

PATRICK: I know that our culinary team loves what they do; that is clear.

 

WILLIAM: Yes they do, Agent C.

 

So, my client’s wedding is in June. As you know from our investigations over the years–even before we started blogging–June is a peak produce season. When we talked about some of her favorite food memories, she mentioned that her dad grew heirloom tomatoes. And her fiancée had mentioned that he loves “all things cheese“.

 

When I was later talking with Chef Ashley, she had a brilliant idea! “Why don’t we do a Chef’s Table presentation during the cocktail hour that is filled with various local cheeses, some awesome heirloom tomatoes and an assortment of condiments for the guests? Imagine having some lovely olive oils and perhaps some artisan salts for the perfectly ripe, sliced tomatoes, and some local honey, homemade jams and great breads to eat with the cheeses!

 

BRILLIANT!” I said, and when I told the bride, she was so excited! Not only did we hit a really positive note with the suggestions, but she loved the fact that we offered her something unique that she “never saw at one of her girlfriends’ weddings.” Really good stuff!

 

Bamboo PlatesPATRICK: That reminds me of some of the positive changes we made several years back here at Affairs to Remember to keep in tune with responsible sustainability practices. Our total and complete elimination of polystyrene products for one, not to mention the reduction in harsh cleaning materials and company-wide recycling and composting programs that have set an industry standard here in the Southeast.

 

We have seen so many of the industry suppliers come around to offering Green-oriented products, as well. For example, there are some cool and environmentally safe disposable service ware options available now at reasonable prices. Fallen leaf bamboo plates and vessels are very on-trend, and they’re compostable.

 

WILLIAM: Compostable yes, but after lengthy investigations by our culinary and operations teams, not as “Green” as one might think.

 

PATRICK: What do you mean?

 

WILLIAM: It actually might be more environmentally sound to re-use china or glass plates over and over, washing with soaps that have less of an impact on the Earth and saving the energy that would be used to transport disposable products to our facility in exchange for the energy used to actually run the china in the dishwasher.

 

PATRICK: That makes sense on many levels. I suppose if a client has that particular “earthy” look in mind, the bamboo or other compostable might be good, but they should know the true tale. Better catering through investigation!

 

WILLIAM: You bet, Agent C! So, back to the very engaging bride I was working with…She knew she was in great hands from a menu development standpoint, but one of the other criteria important to her was to minimize waste generated by her event. I assured her that many of the venues we work in around the Southeast have adopted recycling in their bar programs, which divert thousands of pounds of glass and aluminum from landfills. When one thinks of the amount of bottles and cans generated by 200 guests at an event, it’s really quite stunning.

 

PATRICK: Something as simple as our standard practice of using pitchers of water rather than dozens and dozens of bottles of water for bar service has made a big impact.

 

WILLIAM: When I mentioned the many things we do on a daily basis at Affairs to “walk the walk” when it comes to Mother Earth, she was happy. I asked her if she had spoken to other caterers or event designers about these things that are important to her, and most of them stumbled. “You could tell it was not something ingrained in their company culture.” she said. “It was clear almost from the beginning of interactions with your company, William, that you guys were the real deal when it comes to responsible Green practices, and that means a lot.”

 

PATRICK: Love that! I am sure that has made a difference for her as a bride who has “braved the storm swirl” of planning a wedding.

 

WILLIAM: You bet, Agent C.! We will definitely have to circle back around to highlight her wedding in a future episode. I think we are just getting started with a true “Green design” to her special day and as innovators, just getting warmed up!

 

PATRICK: Speaking of “warmed up”, winter is the time many of us hit the gym, go on a diet and get ourselves healthy in anticipation of spring. Maybe we should investigate some health oriented Green practices over the next episode or two.

 

WILLIAM: Great idea! I am on that diet you mentioned, but it sure is hard being around all this seriously delicious food all day long. Even the employee lunch is over the top! But you know what they say, Agent C.

 

PATRICK: No, what’s that?

 

WILLIAM: NEVER trust a skinny caterer!

 

To be continued…

 


 

Do you take sustainability into consideration when planning a special event, at home or work? What questions do you ask your caterer before you sign the dotted line?

 

Join us next week when Special Agents Patrick Cuccaro and William Neal explore some healthy habits related to food, exercise and the coming of spring. If any of that even remotely resembles your New Years resolutions, this is an episode you won’t want to miss!

 


 

This week’s 3Rs…

 

What is Revealed?

 

REVEALED: Lifecycle Building Center | Shannon Goodman

 

 

 

 

What is Revered?

 

REVERED: Sustainable Shelter” at MODA

 

 

 

 

What is Reviled?

 

REVILED: Not Knowing Where Your Food Comes From

 

 

 

 


 

Special Agent
Patrick Cuccaro
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Special Agent Patrick Cuccaro possesses an analytical mind and keen intellect. As Past Chair of the Georgia Restaurant Association (2012)—representing more than 4,000 restaurants and 100,000 employees—he casts a studied eye towards one of the country’s largest creators of waste—the food industry. Armed with a vision for…[more]

Special Agent
William Neal
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Agent William Neal is a hardened professional in the culinary industry. Well…maybe not hardened, since his favorite quip is “Never trust a skinny chef!” Agent Neal has held some interesting posts throughout his career. Starting as a chef, he became a…[more]

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