Wilmington chef Keith Rhodes was tapped by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to create a lunch menu using North Carolina agricultural products held on May 20 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s newest dining facility – French Creek, 65.
“This is a great example of the state’s two largest industries, agriculture and the military, working together for common goals,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Our department has been working with military installations for more than 30 years to promote local agriculture and provide nutritious products to feed our troops and their families.”
Rhodes is a Wilmington native and restaurateur who was featured on Bravo’s “Top Chef” cooking show. He will prepare a menu featuring local ingredients alongside staff from Sodexo, which oversees the base’s foodservice operations. The local ingredients will be supplied by Foster-Caviness, a North Carolina-based produce distributor.
“This joint venture is a win-win for all,” said Barry Lee, district manager with Sodexo. “It’s truly a sustainable solution that simultaneously benefits both the Marines as well as the local agricultural community.”
The lunch program coincides with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Healthy Base Initiative, which aims to increase the health and well-being of the military, its families and civilian communities. It also is part of Food and Fuel for the Forces, a partnership between agriculture and military communities to gauge what types and amounts of local food production are needed to match the consumption of area military forces.
The NCDA&CS Marketing Division worked closely with Sodexo, Foster-Caviness and Camp Lejeune to create the lunch program. It and other department programs encourage chefs and foodservice suppliers to use products grown, raised, caught or made in North Carolina on their menu. More information about the department’s foodservice initiatives is available at www.gottobenc.com.