Junk food chefs are coming back to real food

Written by By Erin Walsh, CNN

The most popular dietary supplements are often linked to health problems, and with Millennials moving away from soda, snacks and red meat, farmers and ranchers fear for the future of the beef market.

One New York chef, not worried about changing the eating habits of millennials, has committed to an effort to solve the problem.

“I was doing really well but I wasn’t feeling I was giving back,” said Justin Teague, chef and co-owner of the boutique restaurant Terroir at the Grand Lodge, a culinary tour of the northeastern United States featuring the top chefs in Boston, Detroit, Buffalo, Philadelphia and New York.

When Teague joined the Grand Lodge of Freemansburg Lodge of the Sons of Norway in June 2016, he told them he wanted to be a part of what they called “the massive transformation in the way we eat,” according to Ryan Pollock, the lodge’s executive director.

The lodge is committed to supporting local, organic and sustainable food choices and in June 2017, Teague presented a farm-to-table dinner in its private dining room. For about $50, diners were able to taste the chef’s most recent creations, including dishes such as a bone marrow tart, deer taco and pork belly tartare.

CNN’s Erin Walsh visits a New York chef’s latest project: the bugs of Kentucky.

Ginger Mello bites into a bug at Terroir at the Grand Lodge of Freemansburg Lodge of the Sons of Norway in Freemansburg, Pennsylvania. Credit: Erin Walsh/CNN

By the following year, Teague was back, talking about how his experiences at the lodge motivated him to push creative boundaries in his cooking.

“We wanted to recreate this feeling of, ‘Hey, we want people to be able to find themselves here, we don’t want to take away that feeling by coming to a hotel and signing a waiver,’” Pollock said.

While Teague’s food-driven philosophy doesn’t come cheap — dinner at the lodge’s private dining room is more than $60 per person, Pollock said — he sees it as a conversation starter between chefs and guests.

“I felt I had to represent that authenticity,” Teague said. “This was an attempt to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to take things from our backgrounds and put them up to the test. We’re going to take things that matter to us and present them without reservation.”

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