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April 8, 2014


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Music City Center is proud to announce that it has been awarded REAL Certification by the U.S. Healthful Food Council. REAL stands for Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership and is a nationwide program that helps combat diet-related disease by recognizing foodservice operators committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.

Through a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Health and the United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC), Eat REAL Tennessee has now certified 12 foodservice establishments in Tennessee along with many others around the nation. The Music City Center is the nation's first convention center to receive REAL certification.

"We're pleased to recognize these leaders who are providing food that is not only good for business, but good for Tennesseans," said Program Manager Kristen Korzenowski. "Chef Max and the Music City Center are contributing to a culture where the healthy choice is the easy choice."

Eat REAL Tennessee is a statewide initiative supported through a grant from the Tennessee Health Department as part of an innovative approach to preventing diabetes and obesity across the state. The program also serves as a community outreach platform, engaging and educating the public on nutrition and healthy dietary choices. Tennessee's inaugural class of 12 REAL Certified foodservice establishments includes: Sloco, The Wild Cow, Sunflower café, My Veggie Chef, The Frothy Monkey, Sky Blue café, Garden Brunch café, Juice Bar, Joe Natural's café, 1808 Grille, The Barn and the Main House at Blackberry Farm and the Music City Center.

"We are tremendously proud of this achievement," said Charles Starks, President/CEO of the Music City Center. "It signifies the Music City Center's commitment to our customers and the community."

Key factors in the Music City Center's REAL certification include the use of local produce, sustainable sourcing and offering healthful menu options for consumers. The Music City Center purchases 99 percent of their produce from a variety of 68 local/regional farms. The MCC also donates all leftover food to various local nonprofit organizations and has a composting storage room on-site.

"Coming to the Music City Center, I was excited to work with the Middle Tennessee farmers and explore the local bounty that Tennessee has to offer," said Chef Max Knoepfel, Executive Chef of the Music City Center. "We focus on using the best fresh, nutritional and local ingredients from farms in the area. I believe it's important for us to return as much as we take from the land which is why my team in the kitchen works hard to be as sustainable as possible."

The newly certified Tennessee establishments mark an expansion of REAL Certification, which launched with a restaurant campaign in Washington, DC, last year and has since grown to over 80 locations that include restaurants, workplace dining facilities and public venues across the country.




About the Music City Center

The Music City Center, Nashville’s convention center, features a 353,143 square foot exhibit hall, the 57,500 square foot Karl F. Dean Grand Ballroom, and an 18,000 square foot Davidson Ballroom. The building includes an art collection featuring local and regional artists, a covered three-level parking garage with 1,800 spaces, and is LEED Gold certified. The Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame is also located inside the Music City Center at the corner of 6th Avenue and Demonbreun.