Being active in Austin’s food community, collaborating with creatives and launching campaigns to support our local restaurants have all been priorities for Team Choco. Choco is best known for its mobile ordering platform that better connects restaurant kitchens directly with their suppliers, producers and farmers. Essentially, it’s a mission to reduce food waste at scale and to empower local food systems, starting in the culinary world.
Zero Waste of Creativity
Chef Ink was recently launched by Choco in partnership with Tiny Tats ATX and Austin Food Magazine to recognize the creativity and diverse culture in the back of house (BOH). Chef Morgan Fulbright from Hyde Park Bar & Grill was stoked to win the $150 tattoo voucher in the random prize draw:
“I saw this meme not too long ago, it was like 20 years ago if you had a tattoo you were thought to be a biker and now it means you cook a mean pork belly with a beautiful balsamic drizzle. It’s just the culture. It’s an artistic expression of what we do when we cook, and I guess many of us choose our bodies.”
A burst of excitement spread across our social media accounts, as well as on Austin All Day Podcast thanks to the awesome support from our friends Jason and Danny. The photo contest uncovered some incredible culinary tattoos, bringing positive spirits raising awareness among the local foodie community, aspiring chefs, and beyond!
The restaurant tech startup Choco, is a team working for a more sustainable food system by reducing food waste, one order at a time, in the restaurant industry. Five local kitchens in Austin took part in Waste Is Gold anti-food waste pop up event to get creative with food and drink “scraps”: Il Brutto (East Austin), Hillside Farmacy (East Austin), Otoko x Watertrade (South Congress), Foreign & Domestic (North Loop), and Casa de Luz (Barton Springs). Sarah Heard, chef and owner from Foreign & Domestic delighted Austin’s hungry folks with a scrumptious dessert: Mushroom Crème-Brûlée with a semi-sweet hint of basil and sesame. The unique dish was made using leftovers of their locally-sourced Hi-Fi Oyster mushrooms stems used in their signature Gnocchi.
Nadia Hernandez from Otoko and Japanese-inspired bar Watertrade invited us to learn about a menu they developed in the spirit of their philosophy over a Bar Sustainability webinar hosted with Choco in early February; “Mottainai!”, a grandmotherly saying used to express a sense of regret over waste and now a philosophy to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Nadia mentioned they are “trying to tie in more culinary aspects which chefs help us with, dehydrating things and using vinegars help to make things more shelf-stable”. The bar curated two sustainable and delicious cocktails made with food waste ingredients. First, The Lovely Love Affair, made with Hyogo Far East 135° gin, Giffard Orgeat syrup, lemon juice, and smoked chamomile (from dehydrated chamomile leaves). Second, Pretty Bird, crafted with Teeda Okinawa rum, pineapple rum, Leopold Bros Aperitivo, Sudachi juice, fresh pineapple juice, and shiso simple syrup. Hats off to each of these restaurants and bars for getting creative to promote low-waste cooking.
Choco celebrates and shines the spotlight on the independent restaurant community in Austin who has taken the lead in feeding and caring for the community. During the Texas storm and power outage, Choco teamed up with Mr. Natural and The Peached Tortilla to provide free meals to locals without heat, water and food.
Austin has definitely put in the passion, crazy energy and love for the city, to power through a time where every part of the food supply chain and foodservice sector was disrupted.