By Elizabeth Keyser on assignment for the Fairfield Green Food Guide
It’s way too soon to change the name to Green Rock, but Black Rock is getting greener. Green Gourmet To Go, offering local, organic vegetarian and vegan meals, will open on Fairfield Avenue in April. The attractive little storefront, with its soothing celedon walls and coppery silk curtains will offer healthy and environmentally conscious hot and cold lunches and dinners.
Chef-Owner Linda Soper-Kolton was a lifelong food lover and dedicated home cook before she decided to attend the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. The recent NGI graduate is inspired. She wants makes to make eating healthy meals easy and approachable.
“I’ll serve burritos, but healthy burritos,” she said in a recent interview. Think burritos filled with sweet potatoes, kale, black beans and grains. Her Dixie burger is made from black-eyed peas and sweet potatoes and served with chipotle sauce. Her hummus and avocado wrap gets punch and crunch from shiitake “bacon” crisps.
“The menu will be based on seasonality,” Linda said, “It will change.”
You can always find soups (served with crispy kale or sweet potato chips), salads and wraps on the menu. The scarlet soup is an anti-oxidant rich combination of beets and carrots.”People who swear they don’t like beets love this soup,” she said. Lentil apricot soup is another one of Linda’s “magical pairings.”
On the menu, the descriptions of the dishes include lots of phrases like potassium-rich, vitamin-packed, nutrient-dense, but they aim to be palate-pleasing. One of the sweet treats is “Kaitlin’s Cookie.” Linda developed the recipe for her 10-year-old niece who is autistic and has many food sensitivities. The cookie, which Kaitlin loves, has no sugar or gluten, but gets its flavor from acorn squash, pears and almond flour. The Almond-oaties mixes oats, almond and garbanzo bean flour with carob chips.
Because she knows how hard it is for many of today’s busy parents to cook healthy food for their children, there’s a Healthy Happy Meal for kids on the menu. Smaller portions of a main course, side dish, and treat target finicky appetites. Each earth-friendly box also contains a surprise – an educational puzzle.
“I feel so strongly about what kids are eating and what they could be eating,” she said. Her 8-year-old son is a vegetarian, who knows to read food labels. “When he sees two-inch- long label or words he can’t pronounce, he knows to put it back [on the supermarket shelf].
All of Green Gourmet To Go’s packaging and utensils – from cookie bags to forks and knives — will be compostable or biodegradable. “I don’t want to contribute to waste even if this is a take-out business,” Linda said. She plans to compost kitchen scraps in her home compost bin. Green Gourmet to Go’s gleaming new stainless kitchen is set up for a three-sink manual dishwashing procedure.
Linda’s former job was heading up the internet marketing department at Save the Children. And although using social networking is a natural for her, she’s looking forward to in-person communication.
“A storefront is about relationships too,” she said. She envisions having conversations with her customers as they choose daily offerings from the steam table, finding out about their food sensitivities. “It’s an opportunity to teach people.”
She will source her food locally, and will use produce from Sport Hill Farm in Easton.
She chose to open Green Food To Go in Black Rock because its close to her home in Fairfield and because “it’s an area filled with artsy people who are open to new ideas.” She said that people in the neighborhood have been welcoming and enthusiastic, and she hopes to support the community as well.
“I want people to know that eating heatlthy isn’t scary,” she said, “You can do it.”
Linda Soper-Kolton, Chef/Owner GreenGourmetToGo LLC
2984 Fairfield Avenue
Bridgeport , CT 06605