Camilla Marcus' Sustainable SoHo #LunchBrag
As part of our Porter partnership with Edible Schoolyard NYC, we've tapped top chefs in their network to share recipes, tips and fresh ways to spruce up your lunch.
Know best as the founder of west~bourne in SoHo, Camilla Marcus has been recognized as one of the most innovative minds in New York City's restaurant scene. With a menu she describes as "accidentally vegetarian" and "decidedly wholesome", her hospitality style reflects the sustainable, wellness-focused food movement that inspired the creation of our Porter collection. In short, it was a no-brainer to sit down with Camilla to chat all things Lunch!.
What was your favorite lunch growing up?
My mom’s rotisserie chicken—it’s the best I’ve ever had. She’d make it into delicious chicken salad and pack me whole grain crackers, always with fruit and some sort of vegetable on the side. I also particularly loved celery sticks with from-scratch peanut butter.
For context—I was lucky to be exposed to amazing organic produce and natural products at a young age living in LA, where we had access to abundant, year-round farms. Plus, I caught amazing vibes growing up because Mrs. Gooch, who owned one of the first natural grocery store chains (eventually bought by Whole Foods), lived on my street.
What are a few ingredients often turn to when making a quick lunch?
- Three types of olive oil: Capezzana, Grove 45, and Wonder Valley (all for different purposes)
- Any spices from La Boîte
- Bomba Calabrese (a spicy pepper spread) from Eataly
- Maldon sea salt
- Sesame seeds
- INNA jam
What actions are you taking to combat food and packaging waste at west~bourne?
Long before the launch of west~bourne, I integrated as many eco-friendly practices as possible in my home. And as a forward-thinking business, our team understands how vital it is to have a worldly perspective that extends beyond our own impact. That’s why, along with serving an all-day, accidentally vegetarian and decidedly wholesome menu, we also go the extra mile by maintaining a zero-waste operation.
To name a few, our sustainability practices include: a waste-efficient menu (food scraps are upcycled into compotes or sauces), a composting system (as well as compostable tea bags and to-go packaging), recycled denim napkins, eco-friendly cleaning products and energy efficient equipment. We are also proud to sell tote bags and reusable glass bottles to further support our guests’ sustainability efforts in and outside of the restaurant.
Through these integrative green efforts, we have come to truly understand what it means to be a sustainable business from top-to-bottom and why it matters.
To what extent has your career changed the way you cook at home?
My career in hospitality has inspired me to be more adventurous and mindful. I care deeply about where I source ingredients from and use every last bit to minimize waste. I also embrace spontaneity and experimentation, as I don’t typically like to make the same dish twice.
What secret snacks do you have stashed in your desk drawer?
I don’t have a desk, as I spend most of my day either in the restaurant with the team or out-and-about at meetings. But if I did, I absolutely love the beet chips we make from scratch using whole beets (unpeeled). There’s nothing better than snagging some from service right after they are crisped. It’s the perfect cross between a savory and sweet indulgence, and even better dipped in our house~made walnut bagna cauda dip or shallot labneh.
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