Whittemore House, Washington University’s Faculty Conference Center, offers an exceptional menu for breakfast, lunch and special events to their 1,045 members and their guests. They have recently earned additional distinction as a certified-sustainable dining establishment through the Green Dining Alliance (GDA), earning 5-star recognition of its sustainable operations.
A program of the non-profit organization St. Louis Earth Day, the Green Dining Alliance helps area restaurants assess and determine a path for meeting sustainability needs and goals. To join the GDA, Jessica Lepage, General Manager of the Whittemore House, and Grace Dinsmoor, Executive Chef, went through an in-depth audit process, addressing seven main sustainability categories: waste, sourcing and procurement, water, energy, chemical use, awareness and education, and innovation.
Within a month of completing the audit, GDA program manager, Jenn DeRose, delivered a detailed report along with the final score reached by the restaurant. The 5 stars earned by the Whittemore House are the result of a compilation of scores received on each sustainability category, contributing to a specific percentage of total points. Five stars indicates the highest level of sustainability within the rating system.
“Chef Grace was able to get rid of most trash cans in the kitchen, since they are able to divert so much of the waste generated during food preparation and production to recycling and composting. They use vacuum sealers to extend the life of the fresh food they get in stock – a brilliant food-waste reduction strategy”, says Jenn DeRose in her report.
Additionally, all staff members is intensely trained to composting and recycling practices, and encouraged to bring their own water bottles.
With 37% of its food served being purchased from vendors located within 200 miles of campus, the Whittemore House is the WashU champion in terms of local sourcing. Such practices allow the Whittemore house to ensure fresh and seasonal products at the table while supporting the local economy.
The menu often features Eat Here St. Louis produce, Missouri-grown basmati and jasmine rice, bread from Breadsmith, and sustainably sourced seafood.
Less meat, better meat
The Whittemore House is aware of the environmental impact of the meat industry, and takes it into consideration in its menu planning. You’ll always be able to find vegetarian and vegan options like the weekly Green Monday special, a thoughtfully prepared, nutritionally complete, meatless meal. And on Mondays, it’s only $10!
Serving less meat allows the Whittemore House to invest in high quality and humanely raised meat, such as Missouri grass-fed beef, local pork or Amish-raised chickens.
As a GDA member, the Whittemore House has committed to the GDA’s Core Concepts, which include actions such as banning Styrofoam, phasing in energy efficient lighting (LEDs and efficient ballasts), and recycling.
“We have worked to the best of our ability and are very proud of our commitment to sustainability at the Whittemore House. Chef Grace has worked tirelessly on this project and has influenced our entire company to adopt sustainable practices at additional locations operated by Catering St. Louis,” says Jessica Lepage, General Manager of the Whittemore House.
“The Whittemore House has worked hard to create an atmosphere of sustainability for their employees and their customers, and it shows in their product – wonderful, lovingly prepared meals for Washington University clientele”, concludes Jenn DeRose in her report.
The Whittemore House also recently received Bronze certification as a Green Office through WashU’s Green Office Program, showing that their full operation has consistently committed to sustainable practices.