For many chefs, the mantra that good meals start with good ingredients is a widely accepted philosophy. Long before it was in vogue to seek local and organic produce, chefs understood that these ingredients had superior flavor. Chefs Collaborative, a 20-year-old organization now with 12,000 members—including culinary superstars like Michel Nischan, Rick Bayless, Dan Barber, and Ann Cooper—helps foster a more sustainable food supply by assisting chefs in sourcing responsibly produced food.

“When a chef is trying to run a sustainable restaurant kitchen, there’s a lot of pressure to try to do it all,” Melissa Kogut, executive director of Chefs Collaborative said in an interview with Organic Connections. “It’s really hard to do it all because so much depends on the way a restaurant sources food and whether the menu is flexible.”

How does Chefs Collaborative operate? There are numerous channels by which members can obtain support: an online community, print publication, and an annual sustainable food summit all make it easier for chefs to source ingredients from low-impact places.

“Our vision is that, ultimately, sustainability is going to be second nature in every restaurant kitchen,” Kogut continues. “Clearly the top chefs of our world are extremely influential, and we want them to be voices for the cause of sustainability.”

Read more in Organic Connections.