Sustainability: Studying culinary arts
The purchasing class in Western Colorado Community College’s culinary arts program asked students to design an imaginary upscale coffee shop, including one sustainable element.
Then students had to create lists to order everything necessary to start up the restaurant.
Kami Higa, a Mesa State Honors Program student from Hawaii, took it a few steps further, focusing on green elements throughout her virtual caf&233; named “Guava Java.”
The future restaurateur went to great lengths to earn LEED certification, shorthand for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, for her imaginary restaurant.
In her scenario, Kami started by hiring a LEED accredited professional to help find an existing building to remodel into an environmentally friendly restaurant with an open patio area.
Natural light from skylights and picture windows would reduce the amount of electricity needed for lighting and solar water heaters would further decrease power usage. Air filters and lots of greenery would create the natural feel.
Kami also would conserve energy by selecting Energy Star restaurant appliances. All of the electricity need would come from Xcel Energy’s Windsource program, making Guava Java eligible for Colorado’s property tax exemption for renewable energy systems.
Restaurants are filled with exotic appliances and Kami picked the greenest possible models of refrigerators, icemaker, overhead warmer, dishwasher and washing machine.
Efficient appliances also use little or no water. Special fixtures, such as the ergonomic low flow JetSpray units, and tight fittings would help save water inside the building and water-wise landscaping would do the trick outside.
According to Kami, training sessions would be implemented “to teach employees what going green really means and how to maximize their use of the green appliances and programs to best benefit the environment.”
She would order most of the food for Guava Java from Shamrock Foods, which handles primarily Colorado grown food items. Some specialty items would have to be brought in from Hawaii.
Like Chez Lena, Kami would use biodegradable, environmentally friendly and EPA approved cleaning products. Paper products such as bath tissue, hand towels and napkins would be made from 100 percent recycled paper.
Any bags used in Guava Java would be eco-friendly. Typical disposable items, such as clamshell take-out containers, cups, plates and straws, would be biodegradable. Kami also would order biodegradable disposable cutlery from Envioware.
A recycling system would take care of plastic, glass, cardboard and aluminum containers. Food waste would be composted.
In the front of the house, Kami’s plans called for liberal use of bamboo, predictably for chopsticks, but also for bowls, plates, dishes, placemats and trays.
This industrious student is seeking two degrees. Kami will complete her associate degree in culinary arts and certification in December and continue working on a four-year bachelor’s degree in business.
“My project was focused on green initiatives partly because I was required to include as many eco-friendly items and programs as I was able for my honors class requirement,” Kami said. “I do think that it is important that more restaurants research what different green initiatives are offered because not only does it make a great business investment, it also helps to raise awareness about what affects the environment.
“I don’t think that many people know how much environmental damage can be caused just by opening a new restaurant. Green initiatives and products are becoming very popular and they are a great way to give something back to the environment.”