“The story behind the food was powerful. Things I cared about intersected through food. Physical, creative and aesthetic elements came together and nagged a bigger issue that was important to me.”
That is Evan Hanczor’s philosophy behind food—sustainable food, in particular.
Hanczor grew up cooking with his dad and moved to New Orleans for college, where his culinary passion evolved. The thriving flavors of the city inspired Hanczor. While a typical college student relies on his meal plan for sustenance, Hanczor rejected the norm and cooked his own meals, sharing his creations with friends. In his last semester, Hanczor had his first taste of the culinary industry working at Ye Old College Inn. Upon graduation, he left the job with the intent to pursue a career in writing and publishing to put his English degree to use.
Torn between grad school and cooking, Hanczor’s heart took him to The Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut where his culinary passion grew. Here, he learned the art of food prep, from ingredient chopping to dressing the plate for an organic menu. Eager for a new challenge and change of scenery, he continued his culinary journey at Locanda Verde in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood where he helped produce homemade Italian fare. When he saw a Craigslist post for a line cook position at Egg Restaurant in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood—with casual, simple food that’s approachable, affordable and sustainable—Hanczor knew that was where he wanted to be. He aced his interview with Egg founder George Weld. Ten years later, the two are partners at Egg.
“ “My favorite part about using Vitamix is the sense of confidence that there will be a consistent product every time.”
Hanczor quickly assimilated to Egg’s founding principle that restaurants must be a force for social good. As head chef, he is the curator of a sustainable, locally sourced menu. Egg boasts six-acre farm two and a half hours from the city that contributes roughly 30-40% of the produce used for the restaurant’s breakfast and lunch menus in the summer, and about 10% of their yearly produce.
“We want to support our local community and who we’re buying ingredients from,” said Hanczor. “Fresh ingredients generally taste a lot better, and our farm serves as an educational tool.”
Egg’s offsite farm gives its employees a place to deepen their understanding of food systems. They spend time preparing beds, harvesting, packing and weeding, so that they can participate in the production of the food they prepare and serve in the restaurant.
Hanczor cooks in a way that is responsive to what makes sense to grow. Egg has a method of finding ingredients first, then creating dishes that fit those ingredients.
“Our breakfast menu is designed to be stable but with a vibrant specials menu that is ever-changing based on what’s seasonal,” said Hanczor. “We try to sneak vegetables into the breakfast menu where we can and pull from different culinary and cultural backgrounds.”
“ There are so many cost-saving measures that allow us to express our creativity and add value to our menu by getting ‘free ingredients’ from the parts of food you wouldn’t normally use. ”
Being in New York provides a unique set of challenges for seasonal ingredients, and Hanczor relies on his equipment to help him use ingredients in creative applications and keep Egg’s kitchen sustainable.
“One of my favorite dishes is the chilled corn soup—it perfectly encapsulates the things that excite me about cooking,” said Hanczor. “It uses a whole ingredient by blending it in the Vitamix; it’s super easy, accidentally vegan, and has a very versatile canvas that people love.”
Vitamix Commercial products help make Hanczor’s job and his sustainable mission more efficient. From rough chopping ingredients to creating a smooth puree, the Vita-Prep 3 expands Egg Restaurant’s capabilities by giving the culinary team faster, more consistent results and allowing them to train new employees with ease.
“My favorite part about using Vitamix is the sense of confidence that there will be a consistent product every time.”
In addition to using locally produced ingredients, Egg incorporates composting and food waste reduction as part of its mission in the kitchen.
“For kale and collard greens, we used to strip the greens and compost the stems,” said Hanczor. “Now, we chop up the ingredients finely in our Vitamix and put them in dressings and Bloody Marys. We ferment what we won’t use and still compost a lot.”
Hanczor believes that all chefs need to practice sustainability, for their food system’s viability and their own.
“It’s such a demanding job and industry that it is a must to be sustainable financially,” said Hanczor. “There are so many cost-saving measures that allow us to express our creativity and add value to our menu by getting ‘free ingredients’ from the parts of food you wouldn’t normally use.”