Café Sebastienne at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art has signed on as a Carrot Gold partner. The café is recognized for excellence in local purchasing, sustainable operating policies and healthy choices.
Tony Glamcevski, director of food and beverages and special events, has been immersed in Kansas City’s local food scene long enough to see progress. He says Kansas City’s growers and buyers have been working together to solve some of the biggest obstacles of local sourcing: communication and pricing.
Deb and Jim Crum of Crum’s Heirlooms have a wonderful history of working with restaurants and partnering with chefs. Linda Hezel of Prairie Birthday Farm continually fine tunes her pricing model in order to sell her produce at a fair price. “She’s always having that conversation with local chefs,” Glamcevski says.
Distribution is another challenge, one that staff address by planning menus based on what’s available from week to week. On Wednesdays, chef Remy Ayesh and co-sous chef Jacques Riungel shop Goode Acres farm’s produce truck, and when they order from a large supplier, C&C Produce, they specifically request locally grown items.
Local, seasonal foods are highlighted on the menu, and servers are ready to tell guests where their food comes from.
“We have a fair amount of education in pre-shift meetings with service staff. We tell them about the provenance of the food, if it‘s from a local grower, or a certain cheese style for instance,” says Glamcevski.
House-made pickles and jams are a staple, especially on weekend brunch menus, because preserving food is a matter of course for Café Sebastienne staff.
As for healthy options, the menu is loaded with fruits and vegetables and is about 70-80% gluten free. All meats are free of additives. Also, Glamcesvski removed the fountain machine and instead offers a limited selection of soft drinks in 8 oz. bottles.
Staff at Café Sebastienne are eligible for healthcare benefits. “With the restaurant being under the governance of the museum, all the resources for the institution are available to us,” Glamcevski says.
He plans to address disposable take out utensils and containers used when food is taken from the café to the museum’s administrative office across the street. He also wants to look at energy efficient lighting and find a way to encourage visitors to walk, bike or take transit to the café.
Paper, cardboard, glass, and grease are collected for recycling. Because of the way menus are structured—many of the same ingredients are used in different ways over lunch and dinner, then for weekend special events and Sunday brunches—Café Sebastienne generates a surprisingly low amount of food waste.
“It’s a good creative challenge for our culinary team and it helps our bottom line,” Glamcevski says. What little there is, Café Sebastienne would like to have composted. The idea is currently being explored with Missouri Organics.
Photos courtesy of Café Sebastienne