When we opened the doors of Beyond the Bull (BTB) at our first location in Central, SC, in 2012, and coined the term smart food, little did we know that BTB was at the forefront of a dietary renaissance referred to as clean cuisine currently sweeping across the nation. Although definitions of clean cuisine by restaurateurs may vary depending on whether they are promoting sustainable ingredients, vegan, local, or whatever else is the latest fad, if you ask those who are clean eaters, they will all agree on one thing --- the goal of clean eating is to reduce inflammation and maximize nutrient value. Beyond the Bull’s menu of eclectic and highly flavorful smart food does just that.
To many people, clean cuisine conjures up plates of vegan chili, tofu and baked kale chips. But clean is not synonymous with vegan or vegetarian. On the contrary, some animal protein is a good thing ---some, not a 20 oz center-of-the-plate slab of beef sirloin with a micro green garnish. It’s all about proportion. Since the most anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense ingredients are unrefined plant foods, it follows that the higher proportion of whole plant food on the plate, the better.
From its inception, the mission of Beyond the Bull has been to offer just that. How do we do it?
Prepare food from unadulterated whole ingredients as close in form to what Mother Nature intended as possible. All menu items are prepared from scratch using whole ingredients, not heat and serve from bags, boxes, bottles or cans. Instead of buying cans or jars of tomato salsa, for example, BTB buys whole tomatoes, fresh jalapenos and corn, vinegar, spices and herbs and combines them to make a clean product.
Braise, steam, poach and roast animal proteins that are grazed, hunted, caught or fed a natural diet. Which is closer to what Mother Nature intended, wild caught hake or pellet fed Salmon? Hunted wild boar or corn fed beef? Rabbit, quail, duck and lamb, lobster, mussels, scallops, octopus, bison, hake and wild boar --- at BTB, we know where it’s from, what it eats and how it’s processed.
Create exciting original recipes packed with anti inflammatory ingredients.
Herbs, spices, and aromatics
are powerful phytonutrient rich foods used in large doses throughout the
menu. Blueberries in dipping sauce,
spinach and kale in “smart” greens, turmeric and parsley in warm potato salad,
cilantro and lime in sweet potatoes, tomatoes in braising liquid, wraps and
sides, cinnamon in house sangria, cucumber in green gazpacho, chili peppers,
cumin, olive oil, Brussels sprouts and apple cider vinegar to name a few.
Occasionally a guest will ask why I do this. I think what is understood but unspoken is why (at my age) I do this. Shouldn’t I be leading the life of a retiree, taking it easy, traveling the world, going to the theater or joining a club? Why, after three previous careers in other industries, why take on the difficult task (again, understood ---at my age) of starting a restaurant. My answer is that I like it. I like having a purpose, one that not only makes me eager to get out of bed every morning, but one that I know makes a difference one plate at a time.
And now, five years from our start, we are either part of a mega trend or clean cuisine is here to stay. Who’d have thought that?
Eat Smart, Feel Good. Chef AngelaB.
Chef Bell is the author of the book GOOD FOOD BAD FOOD available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.