Tomatofest 2010 – Has Your Chef Taken the BLT Pledge

August 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Our friends at Tomatofest are gearing up for this year’s heirloom tomato gala, which we will post details soon.  In the meantime, we want to tell you that they have also once again, arranged for chef’s to create some pretty good BLT’s by taking their Pledge.  See what they have to say below.  So far chefs that have taken the pledge include Uncommon Ground (both locations), Custom House, City Provisions, Green Grocer and Osteria Via Stato.  We will let you know about other chefs taking the pledge (or let us know which chef’s you’ve found to take the pledge).

“Buy a sandwich, build a garden”


A celebration of Heirloom Tomatoes in Chicagoland, honoring the people who grow, cook, and eat them.

BLT Bonanza – August 23rd to September 19th

Slow Food Chicago, Candid Wines and The Chicago Honey Coop are teaming up to organize and sponsor the second annual Chicago Tomato Fest.  In conjunction with the Festival, we are seeking Chicagoland restaurateurs who will present their own unique take on the classic BLT sandwich, featuring Heirloom and Ark Varieties of Tomatoes and Pork, if the chef chooses to use Bacon.  Our restaurant partners will agree to promote the local farmers and the varieties they grow in an effort to increase the general public’s awareness of the local bounty we enjoy here in Illinois.  Further, we will explain to our customers who ask what we mean by “buy a sandwich, build a garden”. 

 The Chef’s Pledge:

From August 23rd to September 19th,  the height of the local tomato season, my restaurant will serve our take on the classic BLT Sandwich as part of Slow Food Chicago’s Tomato Fest 2010.  I agree to the following:

1)      I will be feature locally grown heritage breed tomatoes in my BLT.  My staff and I will communicate to our customers the names of the varieties we have selected and the farmer or farmers who grew our tomatoes.

2)      If I decide to use bacon in my BLT, I will use locally grown pork, ideally from a heritage and / or Ark breed.  My staff and I will communicate to our customers the variety we have selected and the farmer or farmers who grew the pork we will serve.

3)      My restaurant will donate $0.50 per sandwich sold to Slow Food Chicago’s preSERVE urban garden project.  I vouch for the accuracy of our accounting and recognize that all donations are tallied on the honor system. 

4)      If and when I am contacted by local media, I will do my best to explain the meaning of heritage breeds and to promote the local farmers from whom I am buying the ingredients for my BLT.

 Chef’s Name: _____________    Restaurant (s) Name (s): ____________________

 PreSERVE is a partnership between Slow Food Chicago, the North Lawndale Greening Committee, the Chicago Honey Co-Op, and Neighborspace, to create a community garden in North Lawndale, one of Chicago’s “food deserts.” The formerly vacant lot is now producing black eyed peas, crowder beans, and sweet potatoes, thanks to the help of many volunteers from the neighborhood and across the city.  We’ve accomplished this with all volunteer labor and donated tools and materials, but we’re now fundraising to acquire our own tools, build a low fence, install a sign with information for the community, and continue to purchase the materials needed for the project.  Our goal is to raise $7,500 by the end of 2010. 


One Comment

  1. Damien says:

    Thanks Beeters!

    We toured the garden in North Lawndale last night with Josh Viertel, President of Slow Food USA and the people who made it happen. It’s quite a place. If you’ve never heard of Mr. and Mrs. Earles and their “Slum Busters” gardening efforts, check them out. They epitomize the power of what local food can do it a community – any community.

    I have an review of the evening / open letter to Ruth Reichl posted over on There are links to the Earles as well as a fanatsic video on gardners in N. Lawndale that is worth a look.



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