Our 35 year History and Philosophy
Mary Cleaver catered her first event in the fall of 1978 from her fifth floor walk-up in New York City’s Little Italy. Having been raised to enjoy and appreciate local food, Mary brought this innate sensibility to her work. As Mary started navigating the city’s marketplace, she became confounded by the lack of regional, seasonal food. Examples abounded, but tomatoes were her personal tipping point. In the late 1970s, even the City’s upscale gourmet markets only sold hard, pallid tomatoes flown in from California. What about our region’s 50+ varieties in purple and red and yellow and banded green with their subtle (and not so subtle) variations in flavor? Why did we rely on mediocre food shipped thousands of miles when there were much better – humane, sustainable, healthier and more delicious – options right here at home?
Thus began Mary’s quest to provide the finest local food to New York City diners, and to become an ardent supporter of our nearby farmers, growers and producers.
A lot has changed in 35 years. But one thing hasn’t and it never will – Mary’s long- standing conviction that the best foods are grown, tended and harvested within a day’s drive of your table. Whether at a gala dinner for 500 catered by The Cleaver Co. or a dinner for two at The Green Table, our philosophy is always clear.
In December 2014, we became the first full service event planning catering company and restaurant in New York City to become a Certified B Corporation. B Corporations are companies that believe in using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, and meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. B Corp certification is a third party certification akin to Fair Trade for coffee, or organic certification for food - but it's for our business as a whole. In Mary's words:
"When I started this company 35 years ago, I set out to support a strong regional food and farm economy, and I have always tried to run my business with the "triple bottom line" - people, planet and profit - in mind. It's very hopeful to see the business world changing and expanding to appreciate these practices, and to join a movement of business people who share my lifelong beliefs - that we can have capitalism with positive values, and that how we choose to spend our money can help make the world a better place. Together, we will create a healthier, better business paradigm - one that reflects the interconnectivity of the natural world."
Learn more about our certification here.
MARY CLEAVER – FOUNDER, OWNER & CHIEF FORAGER
Mary Cleaver, one of the country’s foremost authorities on sustainable food and local sourcing, is the founder and owner of The Cleaver Co. and The Green Table.
In addition to Mary’s reputation for providing sumptuous, seasonally-driven food, attentive service and excellent event planning, she is well known for helping create a sustainable, humane and delicious food system. The Cleaver Co. and The Green Table are widely recognized for utilizing local farms and purveyors in order to obtain the best- quality product, and for supporting small to mid-size farms and family farmers. On any given morning, you will find Mary at the Greenmarket, purchasing fruit, vegetables, flowers and much more.
In November 2011, Mary was named the first-ever “Snailblazer” by Slow Food NYC to honor her contributions creating a better, healthier food system for all. She is a founder of the Farm to Chef network and a board member of Food Systems Network NYC and Local Infrastructure for Local Agriculture, among other professional affiliations. Mary is a sought-after speaker on the subject of local food and agriculture, as well as a mentor to restaurateurs and business owners seeking to source food locally and sustainably.
Before founding The Cleaver Co., she was a corporate chef at G.A.F. Corporation, the pastry chef at J.S. Vandam, a food stylist, and a cooking teacher at The New School. Mary co-authored The TriBeCa Cookbook, published by Ten Speed Press in 1995, and is a graduate of Bennington College. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
EMILIO FUJIMOTO – HEAD CHEF
Emilio Fujimoto leads The Cleaver Co. and The Green Table kitchen, upholding its dedication to carefully-sourced, high quality, inspired cuisine. In addition to creating dishes for both the catering company and restaurant, Emilio works closely with farmers and producers around the region.
Born in Lima, Peru, and trained in Tokyo, Emilio’s sensibility and style is among the most unique in New York.