A 25-year veteran of the foodservice industry, John Turenne founded Sustainable Food Systems, LLC, a sustainable food consulting firm, after spending nearly a decade developing and implementing the sustainable foodservice program at Yale University, where he served as executive chef. The Yale Sustainable Food Project earned a number of awards and extensive media coverage and has served as a leading business model for sustainable foodservice. John continues to hold a leadership role in the industry, bridging the gap between conventional and sustainable dining programs and working with the Culinary Institute of America, Harvard Medical School, The New Hampshire Department of Education and Kaiser Permanente as well as several public hospital and school systems. Most recently, Sustainable Food Systems has been working with Jamie Oliver, chef, TV personality and best-selling author on remaking school foodservice programs in the United States.
FE&S: What keeps you working in the foodservice industry?
John Turenne: I like to eat! No seriously, food makes me tick.
FE&S: Who was the person that influenced your career most?
John Turenne: That would be Alice Waters, who motivated me personally, while I was the executive chef at Yale, to change the way we think about food. It’s about the stories behind the food that matters.
FE&S: What aspect of your career gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
John Turenne: Knowing what I do helps make the world a better place.
FE&S: What type of charitable activities are you involved in?
John Turenne: Vice President for the Northeast Organic Farmers Association, president of the local chapter for the American Red Cross and involved in Chefs Move to Schools.
FE&S: Any interesting hobbies?
John Turenne: I enjoy growing and preserving my own food.
FE&S: What do you look for in a business partner?
John Turenne: A similar commitment to doing the next right thing.