John Tucker’s restaurant Rosewater is in Park Slope Brooklyn.
How are you able to keep your menu sustainable?
It is a big project. I am not sure people understand how much effort goes into sourcing as much product as possible to sustainable sources. Fortunately, there are a lot of companies out there who are middlemen to people like me, restaurant owners, and those middlemen help us a lot. They are good, reputable people who have the same values as we do. We also have direct relationships with farmers, orchardists, fish mongers – and those relationships take time and effort. Our chef puts a tremendous amount of time and effort in cultivating these relationships and talking to the people we work with about where the food comes from and how it is grown, raised, or caught.
Why is sourcing your food locally and sustainably important to you?
This [eating seasonally and locally] was was introduced to me while working at Savoy in 1994. To have a blueberry in January probably isn’t a good experience; They are probably from deep South America, probably not very good, probably very expensive, and probably required a lot of jet fuel to get here. I would much rather have a blueberry from Maine in season because it travels far less to get here, will be more ripe, and far more delicious. From seasonality comes sustainability. Eating seasonally means you can eat something at its peak ripeness at its peak freshness. That is something that didn’t come from very far away. As we start to understand the implications of global warming and the use of petroleum products in pesticides herbicides and beef production – we also understand that there are so many things we can do to make a greener place by making choices around where our food comes from.
How is your restaurant an active member in its community?
It has been very important to me and the restaurant since it opened that we feel as though we are part of the community. I know so many people in this community through different ways; as a business owner, as a member of the Park Slope food co-op, I have children who go to school locally, I am a member of my community and I feel my business needs to represent itself as a member of community. We give away gift certificates for raffles to raise money for local causes. For the past several years we do a program and visit a local grade school through Spoons Across America Days Of Taste. I talk to the students about where our food comes from and why they should care. We educate the students on why it is important to use whole animals and to honor the animal and why its less wasteful to do so. Most of us kinda grew up seeming to think that our meat was born into a styrofoam tray with shrink wrap around it, so it is important to do things like this and it gives me a chance to connect with my community and with young people in my community.
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