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The Grand Tier’s executive chef on sustainable sourcing, telling the story of great food

Many of Delaware North’s team members are dedicated to living and working sustainably. Among them is Florian Wehrli, executive chef at The Grand Tier Restaurant, operated by Delaware North’s Patina Restaurant Group at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

Despite his demanding schedule, Wehrli works diligently to integrate locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients into the restaurant’s menu, and even maintains beehives at his New Jersey home. Below, Wehrli shares insights into his sustainable practices and efforts.

Tell us more about your sustainable practices as a chef.
Living in the countryside of New Jersey and commuting to New York City, I harvest ramps, a type of wild allium with an intense garlic flavor, on my way to work. This unique practice adds a distinct touch to dishes such as the Jumbo White Asparagus served with walnut ramp pesto and duck prosciutto from Long Island. I regularly work with local purveyors to source ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses. As chefs, understanding the stories behind the food we serve helps us transform delicious dishes into true culinary experiences.

How did you get interested in beekeeping?
I have beehives at my home in New Jersey, and I was inspired by a previous job where we maintained hives on the roof of a large building in New York City. It has not only been a fun hobby, but has taught me a lot about how bees are vital to our food supply and what goes into honey production.

Why is it important to think and act sustainably?
Our team members need to understand the lifecycle of the ingredients we use to reduce waste and have a deeper appreciation of the product – putting into perspective the amount of work that goes into the food we eat.

Through this education, our guests at The Grand Tier are treated to unforgettable dining experiences. It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or the country, everyone has a part to play in being more sustainable.