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SPOON-FED:

Lens on Leadership: Daniel Bojorquez

 

From our Board of Directors, to our Culinary Panel, to our Friends Advisory Board, we’re fortunate to count so many strong leaders among our lot! Every month, we introduce you to one of them.

This month, it’s Daniel Bojorquez: Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ Culinary Board member and supporter. He is the Owner & Executive Chef of La Brasa and Fat Hen in Somerville.

How did you first get introduced to Lovin’ Spoonfuls?

I was first introduced to Lovin’ Spoonfuls through Lauren Palumbo, [Spoonfuls’] Chief Operating Officer, when we were both working for L’Espalier.

What is it about Lovin’ Spoonfuls and/or the issue of wasted food that speaks to you personally or professionally?

Personally, I like Lovin’ Spoonfuls because, working in restaurants, I have experienced how access to good food for different sectors of the community relates to their access to wealth and opportunity. Many restaurant and hospitality workers are a part of those vulnerable communities – racial/ethnic minorities, lower-wage earners. In combination with today’s economy, it is a hard place to be. Lovin Spoonfuls is right in the middle as an organization to help to close that gap. 

How have you involved your restaurant in our work?

We try to always be available and keep in communication with different organizations like Somerville Homeless Coalition and Lovin’ Spoonfuls. We help whenever we can through our food and also get creative with the platform we have through our business. 

What are a couple of tips you have for fellow chefs committed to wasting less food?

Minimizing waste is something I’m working on. I was brought up in Mexico, where food is often a big part of daily life. With a farming background, I saw how much work, money, and natural resources it takes in order to grow food and raise animals. In restaurants with small profit margins and high costs, we have to be very aware of minimizing waste. Something I always embraced in the kitchen is being creative with byproducts. One tip I can share: When cooking or creating a meal, never have the garbage bin next to where you prepare food. Instead have a clean bin where you can save all byproducts, such as herb stems, leftover bones, or meat trim. Then you can get creative with dishes utilizing these products that would have otherwise ended up in the garbage. 

What are a few ways people can support restaurants/restaurant workers in the current state of the pandemic?

Restaurant workers have been under a lot of stress due to how volatile restaurant life can be on a daily basis. In the short term, being patient can go a long way to support restaurant workers. In the long term, real help is needed. When there is an opportunity through legislation to create higher-wage jobs and more humane working environments, do your civic duties to create sustainable change for the better.

Tell us about La Brasa and Fat Hen! What’s going on?

At La Brasa, we are finally getting to a position where we are starting to see workers and guests coming back. Slowly we are building up the ability to increase our hours of operation. We have also been having fun with weddings. At the Fat Hen, we recently had a menu change and began slowly reopening.

For more from Chef Daniel, consider giving his restaurants La Brasa and Fat Hen a visit!