A few weeks ago Mike and I had the pleasure of attending the “Have You Eaten a Ford Lately?” event hosted at NAIT Ernest’s restaurant. The event was put on by Ford Canada (/Focus Communications) and was really a night where guests learned more about Ford’s sustainability efforts over delicious food made using biofuels that are also found in Ford vehicles. A very interesting concept!
During cocktail hour we were served Oriental Hot Shooters with Tofu and Curried Raisin Couscous on Belgian Endive. The biofuel-used-in-Ford-vehicles element of this dish is that soybeans are used to create foam in Ford seat cushions, back and head restraints. Neat!
When we sat down for dinner, we were greeted with a super informative placemat that talks about all the different biofuels Ford features (or is thinking of featuring) in their vehicles.
Here are the highlights:
- Soybeans: Using soybean-based foam in seat cushions, backs and head restraints saves about 2.2 million kg of petroleum each year.
- Wheat Straw: Ford worked with Canadian universities to recycle wheat straw (a waste product) into bio-based resin for the Ford Flex’s storage bin.
- Rice Hulls: Reinforce plastic used in an electrical harness in the 2014 F-150.
- Sweet Potato: Makes a plastic used in the door map pocket.
- Dandelion Root: Is being studied as a possible alternative to synthetic rubber.
- Denim: Recycled denim is used in Ford vehicles as a sound deadener.
- Coconuts: A fibre by-product of coconuts is being studied as a replacement for molded plastics.
- Plastic Bottles: The equivalent of about 22 clear, plastic 20-ounce bottles are in the seat fabric of the Ford Electric.
Our appetizer was Pan-seared Bay Scallops with Sweet Potato Puree and Dandelion Honey, Maple Bacon, and Baby Arugula. Delicious. Ford biofuel info. for sweet potatoes & dandelion highlighted above!
Our entree was Spring Creek Striploin of Beef – Gruyere pomme de terre puree, Corn Succotash and Pinot Noir Reduction. Sugars used in corn, beet and cane are under consideration for biodegradable plastic parts. Also fantastic.
And for dessert – no biofuel connection but it was a Guittard Chocolate Mousse with Melba sauce, Lavendar tuile, and Macerated berries. I’m not huge on dessert so the chocolate mousse was a bit rich for me, but the macerated berries were divine!
The food was all prepped, cooked, plated, etc., by NAIT Culinary Arts students. I say again and again and will probably say it a million more times – but these students are so talented and I’ve never had a bad meal at Ernest’s! So good. The student chefs introduced themselves and made punny Ford food jokes before dinner started. We all applauded them afterwards for a dinner well done.
After dinner we learned more about Ford’s sustainability history and current efforts from Dean Geddes, the company’s Marketing Strategy manager. Here are some of the tweet highlights:
In the 40's Henry Ford started using soy in plastic panels to kick start the economy for farmers! #yegfordgreen pic.twitter.com/oRyRhcsBCx
— Don Nault (@TheXSivDon) February 26, 2014
It's actually pretty remarkable the kinds of food byproducts that get used in car manufacturing #yegfordgreen
— Adam Rozenhart (@bingofuel) February 26, 2014
85% of the materials used on Ford vehicles are recyclable. (Also tasty.) #yegfordgreen
— Kerry Powell (@KerryPowell) February 26, 2014
Interesting, the 2015 Ford F-150 will be 700 pds lighter, more fuel efficient more green. Flies in face of previous editions. #yegfordgreen
— Ted Bauer (@tedgbauer) February 26, 2014
I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect coming into this event (we joked that we’d be eating dinner on hubcaps!) But it was a very interesting (and delicious) night. Mike and I currently own a Ford Escape so we are already pretty pro-Ford so it was fascinating to learn about the company’s green efforts and to see them taking sustainability so seriously.
There was also an interesting mix of guests at the event – there was representation from those in the automotive industry/blogosphere, as well as representation from the food lovers (I’d be on in the second group!) I thought it was a clever way to bring together these two groups and highlight all the interesting work the company is doing to go green.
Afterwards guests also had the option to go for a tour in the NAIT Culinary kitchens (always interesting to see if you haven’t done it before I recommend you check it out!) and a smaller group also went with NAIT President & CEO Dr. Glenn Feltham on a tour of the Shell Manufacturing Centre – a place home to lots of tools used to by industry to create and test fantastic things (including the Enviro Chamber that lets you test products in temperature extremes, and the 3D plastic printer, to name a few cool tools).
All in all, very cool event! Thank you to Ford/Focus Communications for the invite. :)