I had the pleasure of presenting the ‘Local Hero’ best restaurant award a few weeks ago at an event in the Ecotrust building, put on by Edible Portland. What a cool award. I love living in a world, (although I admit Portland is a rather small bubble, not an entire world), that looks beyond the bottom line to recognize achievement.
This award doesn’t go to the busiest restaurant, or the one with the absolute best food, or the best service, or the coolest ambience, but rather to the restaurant that gives back the most. All of the nominees can claim that they give back significantly to the community.
Paying your employees an above average wage, and making sure they have access to healthcare benefits are just a couple of examples of how these places give back. Sourcing most or all of their produce locally is another. Taking great pains to compost as much as possible is yet another.
As I mentioned during my presentation, I worked for Wolfgang Puck for a few years, and I can promise you that this is an award that he would never be nominated for. I guess if you are going to be worth almost a billion dollars, you are probably not giving a lot back to your employees.
So, congratulations to the winner and to the nominees. Keep up the good work, it’s why we like living in Portland.