CAMBRIDGE — Rouge Tomate, a New York Michelin-starred restaurant, was part of the zeitgeist around healthy and sustainable food when it opened a food cart two years ago. Located on Fifth Avenue near the Central Park Zoo, its business boomed over a menu of $6-to-$8 burgers: beef, bison, chicken and mushrooms, each infused with spices. Its success is more than the sum of the philosophy to use healthy ingredients and local foods, and reduce the carbon footprint. The cart took off because the key ingredient in this food is flavor. Social media is agog at how good the burgers taste.
At a Menus of Change conference in Cambridge last week, a discussion of Rouge Tomate’s food cart seemed to epitomize what the future might hold. MOC released its first annual report, which argues that the food industry needs to reshape eating habits for the well-being of consumers and the planet. MOC says the report, with the group’s guidelines, are a GPS model for the future of food. The conference of 300 industry leaders, chefs, and restaurateurs was sponsored by the Culinary Institute of America and the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.