Good Bones: Chef Olivier Crosby’s Innovative Bone-Broth Beverage
With our often stressful and harried lives, “comfort foods” are so known for a reason, offering emotional solace by invoking in the eater memories of a different time or place. In some cases, they also hearken back to our dietary roots, drawing on ingredients and recipes that were traditionally embraced for their high nutrient quality and ability to remedy health ailments. But as our ties to these recipes have waned, so too has the presence of some valuable and healthy foods.
Bone broth is a perfect example of a former staple of our diets, now rarely made fresh outside of a restaurant. Enter Chef Olivier Crosby, who thinks people need bone broth now more than ever. His new business, Good Bones Broth Company, has developed a unique and nutritious bone broth recipe that allows broth to be refrigerated and consumed cold—a first of its kind.
Chef Crosby knows a thing or two about making a first-rate broth. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Crosby has an impressive pedigree that includes having worked for Michelin-Star restaurants in Paris and Switzerland, followed by the Four Seasons in Chicago, before partnering to launch Cellar Door, his own restaurant in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Crosby hails from a family that loves to cook. “It’s been my trade ever since I was 15 years old,” he says, “but there’s a lot of stress and demand on you when you’re working in high-caliber restaurants. I felt it was time to pursue an opportunity where I could own my own job.”
Consommé, of course, is fundamental to many types of cuisine, and it would be impossible for Crosby to quantify how many batches he has produced over the years. “If you visit a French restaurant, you’d likely see a dozen or so copper pots with different types of stocks simmering on the stove,” says Crosby. “We used to drink it all the time while working in the kitchen.”
The inspiration to turn bone broth into a commercial business came after Crosby changed his diet to include drinking more broth. As he lost weight and enjoyed a healthier-looking appearance, his restaurant customers took notice and inquired about the transformation. He explained the role bone broth played, and he gave customers some to take home and try. “They loved it,” recalls Crosby, “not to mention the fond memories it conjured up about grandma’s home cooked meals.”
Historically, bone broth was an important part of American nutrition, considered a mandatory food product in retirement homes, eldercare facilities, and hospitals. In old nursing manuals, broth was listed as a key part of maintaining a person’s overall health. Bone broths are rich in cartilage, collagen, and gelatin, which provide important amino acids and trace elements that are not easily found in other foods. “Where do we get gelatin or collagen in our diets now?” asks Crosby. “Nowhere.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, broth’s nutrient properties are good for tendons, arteries, and other parts of the body that are elastic in nature. Athletes are consuming bone broths in increasing numbers, and sports trainers recommend it to promote healthy muscle growth and speed recovery. Former NBA star, Kobe Bryant, swears by bone broth and made it a foundation of his pre-game meals, according to ESPN.
The key to maximizing the nutritive properties is to make the broth as gelatinous as possible. To do that and make it taste enjoyable, it takes the experience and knowledge of someone like Chef Crosby, who respects every critical detail about bone broth production. “It’s a process, but it creates an authentic product,” says Crosby. “We make it exactly how you would at home, if you wanted to make your own broth.” Crosby procures bones from several Connecticut suppliers but often relies on Fairfield’s Custom Meats, a butchery that works with eight local farms. “It’s hard to find enough suppliers to keep up with demand,” says Crosby. “To make a two-gallon batch, I need to put 14 pounds of bones in the pot.”
Once bones are in hand, Crosby roasts them in the oven with heads of garlic to begin generating flavor. From there, the bones simmer in stainless steel pots with vegetables and spices for 24 hours. The broth is then strained in a custom-made filter, which strains out a precise amount of fat determined by Crosby, before cooling overnight, so all the remaining fat hardens. This hard layer is then cut out, and the remaining broth is strained one more time before bottling. All told, it is a three-day process from oven to bottle, and Chef Crosby will tell you this is the only way to do it right.
As Good Bones Broth Company first took shape, Crosby was faced with a challenge. He believed the best way to reach the most people would require creating a chilled beverage, one that could compete for common drinking occasions and be merchandised in similar places. The hurdle to this was figuring out what to do about chilling gelatin, which hardens when cooled. Drawing upon his cooking experience, Crosby employed select natural food ingredients in the Good Bones formulation that contain naturally occurring enzymes. These prevent the gelatin from binding, thus, the broth can be chilled and still pour as a liquid. It’s a true innovation.
“We want to be known for creating a new beverage category,” says Crosby. “There’s never been a bone broth in the refrigerated section. We’re the first to do it.” Good Bones Broth Company currently offers a Chicken Broth with Lemon and Ginger. A grass-fed beef broth will soon join the lineup, along with a fish broth featuring Thai chili. Distribution is growing through Fairfield County and, soon, New York.
Crosby says that early adopters love his product and keep coming back for the taste, health benefits, and convenience. He is passionate about the opportunity and is committed to Good Bones for the long haul. “I’m not just doing this for the money,” says Crosby. “I want to do something I love that can help other people.”
Good Bones Broth Company: Black Rock Harbor, Bridgeport; 203-767-1704