Hugh Acheson Spearheading Massive Overhaul of Gnarly Concert Venue Eats

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Mr. Sustainable Photo: Melissa Hom

If you've ever thought the only thing standing between you, the Dave Matthews Band, and total bliss was a certified humane and free-range chicken finger meal, you're in luck. Megachef Hugh Acheson has signed on to work with Live Nation to replace all the food sold in its concessions at 38 amphitheaters nationwide with a new menu comprised of humanely-sourced meats and local vegetables, the AP reports. The promoter and venue operator says it'll cost them approximately $1 million to implement the changes.

Acheson, who will soon appear on the New Orleans season of Top Chef and has also just announced he'll be opening a Mexican restaurant in his old 5 & 10 space in Athens, will consult on the transition, which sounds like a massive undertaking, especially considering the venues sell a total of 285,000 burgers each year. Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino says under the new system, each amphitheater will move toward sourcing produce grown within a 100-mile radius, which presumably means that each will overhaul and localize its food service operations. Acheson will work to create dishes like a vegetarian rice bowl while the company vets potential vendors certified by one of three groups: Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, and Global Animal Partnership. The companies specialize in certifying meat producers as grass-fed, free-range, locavore, pasture-raised, and humane.

Stadiums and movie theaters have been caught up with trying to improve food options across the board, but the hyper-local aspect of Live Nation's plan is, if not unprecedented, a major move for such a large company. Reps say that Acheson's rice and veggie bowl, which may also contain tofu, will debut this summer, and that the broader changes will follow.

Live Nation to locally source concert food; Top Chef to consult
[AP/ChicoER]