24-Karat Gold: Epicurean Group Shines As Colorado Environmental Leader

The Epicurean Environmental Management team at ELP Awards Breakfast at Wings Over the Rockies. Photo by Evan Semón

The Epicurean Environmental Management Team (Rebecca Pino, Paul Hunter, Jenna Johansen, Joel Villezcas, Meghan Sibert) posing with Lynette Myers, Coordinator for the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program (Photo by Evan Semón).

At Epicurean Group, we don’t just set the table, we set the standard, creating amazing events and experiences for the past three decades. But this week, we are incredibly proud to share that we have also been recognized for our environmental leadership in the state of Colorado.

Epicurean Group was recently named a “Gold Leader” by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). The ELP program recognizes Colorado companies and organizations that voluntarily go beyond environmental regulations with the goal of sustainability. The ELP “Gold Leader” status marks the highest level of distinction in the esteemed program, recognizing a continued commitment to sustainability and environmental leadership.

In addition to this accolade, our Environmental Management Team, led by our Executive Innovation Chef, Jenna Johansen, was a finalist in the ELP’s “24-Karat Gold” Challenge, which spotlights Colorado environmental champions for their sustainability initiatives.

While we have a robust environmental program, as well Epicurean Cares to support the local community, we’re most proud of our waste reduction programs, ensuring that 98% of Epicurean’s unused food and serving items are recycled, reused or repurposed. We have implemented recycling and composting programs at all Epicurean offsite venues to reduce trash volume and have repurposed thousands of pounds of food by donating to partner organizations including We Don’t Waste, Sox Place and the Volunteers of America.

(Photo by Evan Semón)

The ELP Awards Breakfast at Wings Over the Rockies (Photo by Evan Semón).

Our commitment to the environment is long-standing. Epicurean Group was the first registered “Colorado Proud” caterer, using seasonal local produce on our menus. Our program encompasses all Epicurean venues, including Epicurean Sports at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Denver Center for Performing Arts, and Mangia Bevi Café, as well as over 1,000 corporate and private catered events a year. Our environmental efforts go beyond our events and experiences and impact things such as equipment repurposing, sustainable remodels to our office spaces, use of solar energy and implementing everyday environmental best practices such as using ceramic mugs instead of paper cups to ensure minimal impact and waste.

Being named an ELP “Gold Leader” for our sustainability initiatives and efforts to reduce food waste in the state of Colorado is an incredible honor and has inspired the Epicurean team to develop additional ways that we can reduce our environmental impact and continue to benefit our community.

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To Celebrate Earth Day: 5 Ways to Save Food at Home from Going to Waste

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While today officially marks Earth Day, at Epicurean Group we believe it’s important to celebrate the environment every day which is why we use a number of green practices in our kitchens daily. By creating partnerships with organizations like We Don’t Waste and Rocky Mountain Sustainable Enterprises, more than 90% of our annual waste output is recycled. Last year at Sports Authority Field at Mile High we donated 63,364 servings of unused food to people in need and we provide approximately 500lbs of scrap food to the Alpine Waste & Recycling Compost program each week.  We’re also recognized as a Colorado Proud company for souring locally and have a Bronze Level certification from the Environmental Leadership Program.

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Did you know that the average American household wastes $1,600 a year on food that gets tossed in the trash? Not only is wasted food bad for the pocket book but once it hits the landfill, the spoiled food releases methane gas which has been linked to global warming. Yikes!

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Here are 5 Ways to You Can Save Food at Home from Going to Waste:

    1. Make a Plan & Stick to it! –Before going to the grocery store, write a list keeping in mind if you have any plans throughout the week that may prevent you from cooking at home. Buy only what you intend to use and cut recipes in half for fewer servings. Look to the meat counter, bakery and bulk food bins where you have the ability to choose the quantity you buy opposed to prepackaged goods.
    2. Start a Compost-Create healthy and fertile soil for your garden by decomposing unused food scraps. To learn more about composting and how you can do this at home, click here.
    3. Repurpose Your Leftovers-Did you know you can make homemade broths using leftover meat bones that are loaded with health benefits? Bacon grease can also be saved and added to virtually any vegetable to give the flavor an extra boost!
    4. Just Freeze It! –Lots of meat and produce can be frozen and used at a later date. During meal prep, freeze and store portions to be used later on. This will save on those busy days when there’s no time to cook!
    5. Donate Unused Food-Many local food banks and shelters accept canned and non-perishable goods. Check with local churches and food banks for more information.

(*Sources cited: http://www.epa.gov/foodrecovery/)