More than ever, members of the foodservice industry are embracing a responsibility to operate in environmentally conscientious ways, from sourcing food to conserving resources. Which is good, because it’s not just the planet they’re serving.
From diners to event planners, members of the public want to support restaurants and businesses who share their values and commitments. It influences their dining decisions as much as menus or prices.
But restaurateurs don’t always know what first steps to take, or the cost savings they could enjoy by taking them. The public doesn't always know how to identify those restaurants. Both need a partner—for resources, support and education.
We are Next Bites, a Chicago-based nonprofit.
Next Bites was started in 2011 by Eloise Karlatiras as the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition, an idea conceived in 2009 by Chicago Magazine’s Green Awards winners, Dan Rosenthal and Ina Pinkney. When the organization’s resources and reach began extending beyond the restaurant industry and beyond the city of Chicago, a new name was needed. GCRC became Next Bites in 2016.
Sarah Hidder, Co-Chair
Sarah is extremely passionate about protecting the environment and doing what we can to reduce the human footprint on this planet. She received her degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign and has worked in the environmental field since graduating in 2012. She started her career working at a couple of different nonprofits, including roles as a development director, interim director and associate director at Next Bites! Sarah currently works as a sustainability analyst for Hyatt Hotels at their corporate office in downtown Chicago.
Kait developed a passion for local, sustainable food while studying food politics at Indiana University Bloomington. After college she served with City Year Americorps in New Orleans, where she tutored 9th graders, and ate way too many broiled crawfish. Despite the amazing food and festivities down South, she missed the Midwest and moved to Chicago, serving a second year in City Year planning large-scale community service events. She brought her love of events and food to FIG Catering, working with clients to plan green-minded weddings and social events.
Matt Rundquist, Co-Chair
Matt is an advocate for sustainable practice in business. He works for Sodexo as Sustainability Coordinator at the Museum of Science and Industry and other cultural attractions, where he is proud to have launched several successful food donation programs. Previously, Matt worked for the University YMCA in Champaign as Sustainability coordinator, and as an ecological restoration crew member, and an outdoor education instructor. Outside of work, Matt is an avid homebrewer and cider-maker, nature-lover, and enjoys exploring all the Chicago food and craft beverage scene has to offer.
Jenny is a Senior Manager at Deloitte and works with clients across a number of industries addressing their sustainability needs. Jenny is passionate about environmental and social issues and believes that everyone has a role to play in taking care of the world we share. As a native Chicagoan, she would love to see the city continue to thrive as a dining destination, with a focus on sustainable practices and informed patronage.
Ann is an Associate Consultant at FUND Consulting, a firm that provides both strategic and operational services to community development financial institution (CDFI), nonprofit, and government clients nationwide. Before joining FUND, Ann researched economic and environmental impacts of food waste reduction for The University of Iowa Office of Sustainability. Ann holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a minor in Environmental Planning from The University of Iowa.
Craig joined the Wastemaster executive team in 2014. Trained in finance and marketing, Craig's commitment to environmental stewardship in unsurpassed. He's a volunteer of the Edgewater Environmental Sustainably Project. Now schooled in waste removal, he uses his passion for waste diversion to help his customers implement recycling programs and build organics collection processes whenever possible. Wastemaster fulfills his vision of giving small businesses the buying group power to achieve an advantage in the marketplace. He's a regular speaker at conferences and neighborhood chambers, believes in sustainable living and is finding solutions to divert waste from landfills through composting.
Maddie is the Sustainability Specialist at Shedd Aquarium, in this role she coordinates the aquarium's sustainability initiatives and manages the sustainable seafood program. Maddie graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor's degree in environmental studies and a specialization in environmental stewardship and sustainability. Her interest in food systems was sparked during a sustainable agriculture study abroad course in Costa Rica and fostered while leading the green initiative at a nationally recognized James Beard award winning farm to table restaurant.
Zoe has worked for Verde Solutions, a Chicago-based commercial energy efficiency consulting company, for the past 4 years. She enjoys living and working in a city where there are so many opportunities to get involved in sustainability efforts. Zoe earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Illinois and a M.S. in Sustainability Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Next Bites offers various internship opportunities throughout the year!
Available Internship Positions:
Please send your resumé and cover letter, or requests for more information, to:
“My internship with GCRC gave me valuable professional experience. I actually felt like I was doing real work: I was communicating and coordinating with many people at once, taking real data and preparing actual documentation with which these restaurants would get their certification.”
– Kara Rodby, 2014 intern with HMSHost
“In theory, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in agricultural and food sustainability, but prior to my internship, I was unsure of what the practical application would look like. Working in collaboration with a food service business and a Green Seal consultant, I saw first-hand the practical barriers to sustainability in food service, but also the potential for meaningful change.”
-Megan Wadin, 2014 intern with Catering by Michael’s
“I feel I gained incredible knowledge in the importance of making a food service operation sustainable. I also gained a lot of communication skills, and experience in conducting research and consolidating information.”
- Allie Goldstein, 2014 intern with Big Bowl
Photo Credit: Uncommon Ground
Wanting to support our mission in other ways? Next Bites is always looking for volunteers at events, help in the office, or even a second opinion interview. If you have an interest, let’s make a connection! Chicagoland foodservice sustainability is a mission for all!
Current Volunteer Needs:
Please use the contact form if you're interested in volunteering.