Beefsteak, the vegetable-centric, fast casual developed by award-winning chef José Andrés, announced its newest team member: Chief of Produce, Bennett Haynes.
In keeping with Beefsteak's philosophy of good food, fast, Haynes' role focuses on sustainable vegetable sourcing and solutions for the expanding fast casual, which currently has five locations. Using his expertise and network of top-tier producers, Haynes ensures that Beefsteak's guests can enjoy the freshest, most flavorful vegetables available. Haynes will work closely with executive chef Pat Peterson, to ensure that the menu reflects peak seasonality, freshness and local sourcing wherever possible.
"It's essential for all restaurants to employ someone who is fully focused on the quality and safety of the ingredients used in the kitchen and at Beefsteak we are in a unique position with how much fresh produce we use," says Haynes. "As we grow, it becomes that much more important to know our supply chain, connect with local, small-medium scale farmers and coops, and communicate seasonality with an entirely different level of detail. It's a full time job and I'm thrilled to own that responsibility for one of the most respected hospitality groups in the country."
Before joining Beefsteak, Haynes spent his career following his passion for feeding others as an entrepreneur and community organizer. Haynes got his start in agriculture as a student at Bowdoin College, where he majored in environmental studies and anthropology before going on to become a Fulbright scholar. His studies eventually brought him to Southeast Asia, where he began his career as a community organizer in Thailand for The Alternative Agriculture Network. His accomplishments with AAN reached well beyond Thailand, when he implemented network-wide Green Market policies and represented AAN at the UN Climate Meetings in Bangkok, Slow Food International Conference in Torino, and EcoFarm Conference in Monterey.
Upon his return to the U.S. in 2011, he started Ralston Farm, LLC, where he specialized in diverse produce farming, cultivating high quality products and overseeing a Community Supported Agriculture. In a few short years he grew his business to serve more than 175 families and numerous restaurants, working closely with chefs to develop menus and trial heirloom produce varieties. His major restaurant clients included the Michelin starred Uncle Boons, Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen, and Brick Farm Tavern.