5@5 - Chef Danny Trace
December 9th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

As a Louisiana native, Danny Trace has spent many a moon on the outskirts of the Big Easy hunting, fishing, crabbing, and crawfishing.

Turning the catch du jour into the plat du jour positively enthralled a young Trace, and he turned that fascination into his adult profession - which has taken him from the kitchen of the famed Commander’s Palace to the executive chef post at Brennan’s of Houston.

Just as a recent study by Johns Hopkins University found, Trace believes food downright tastes better when you have to work for it.

Five Reasons You Should Get Hands-On With Your Food: Danny Trace

1. Freshness
"Everyone talks about the freshness of their products, be it meat, fish, produce, herbs, etc. When you actually are a part of the process of farming you get to see first-hand what fresh really is. Tasting what food is supposed to taste like - unadulterated. From flavor to texture, you’ll see the variances of what makes it superior. It’s pretty impressive. And, who doesn’t like getting their hands dirty every once in a while?"

2. Butcher it
"I grew up with Cajun cooking - we try to utilize all parts of the animal. When learning how to butcher your own food, it’s an educational process – you learn correct practices in handling it and how many more cuts and tasty bits there are to use, therefore reducing waste. It’s not for the faint at heart and doesn’t whet the appetite, but it is a matter of sustainability."

3. Environment
"Heading out to the farm or out with the fisherman and checking out where the beef, pork, lamb, etc. are raised and the vegetables or produce are planted, [it] lets you know you’re getting an exceptional product. By seeing what they’re eating and building a relationship with local farmers, you can rest assured the meat/veggies haven’t been altered. It’s just plain goodness."

4. Large appreciation for resources
"When you’re up close to your food, you have a larger appreciation for how food gets to your plate. From farming to hunting, it really changes your perspective. I enjoy hunting and fishing as a sport, but I’m a firm believer if you’re going to kill it, you must not waste it."

5. Love for food and fun
"As a kid, all our extracurricular activities revolved around outdoor adventure: getting dirty, fishing, hunting, and experiencing the environment. This definitely started my love for food. I recommend everyone to try it out - from fishing to gigging a frog, it’s just more fun getting it on your own!"

How hands-on do you get with your food? Do you hunt, fish or garden - or do you opt for the fruits of others' labors? Share the dirty details in the comments below.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Brandi

    This year I was laid off in Feb. so we started thinking about being a little more self sufficient. We planted a garden and have chickens. It has been the greatest experience for myslef and my son. "Is this ours" he would ask when we would have dinner. We are looking forward to next year since we learned so much this year. I wish everyone could try it.
    There is definitely so many positive aspects besides health.

    December 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  2. D. Koffers

    "Just as a recent study by John Hopkins University found"
    I would not trust that study for I have never heard of this University. I think it's a fake.

    I do know Johns Hopkins University though...

    December 9, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  3. Parick

    Every year I grow more of my own food and can't get enough of gardening. Raised beds are coming next year. I also enjoy growing some of my own herbal tea plants. It's incredibly rewarding to dunk some dried mint or chamomile you grew into a cup of hot water and enjoy. Farming skills may become pretty valuable if the economy keeps sucking and resources get more scarce.

    December 9, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  4. Cole

    I like fishing and don't mind gardening, but I think the message is overreaching.

    I hear a lot of talk about how something is "supposed" to taste like this and that... It reminds me of the Tasty Wheat discussion in "The Matrix." In this case, human beings have been manipulating crops for centuries. It's like saying, "This tastes like a banana." Well, most of us have never had a "real" banana, so how can that statement be true? Even "heirloom" produce isn't exactly what it's "supposed" to taste like. Short of truly wild/untouched products like truffles you just can't claim what something is "supposed" to taste like.

    If one enjoys an activity and it just happens to have incentives like fresh food, that's great. But, let's not exaggerate or make up stuff in order to romanticize an activity.

    December 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  5. fob

    My husband accuses me of killing fake plants, but I would like to try my hand at growing my own herbs. I hate paying 3.99 for basil at the market. I usually just do without it except for special occasions. My parents are great gardeners, so I get to enjoy the fresh veggies from their garden.

    December 9, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  6. Kara

    I just planted my first garden this year and it's going well. I'm lucky enough to be in California where veggies thrive easily but, I'm very proud of my little harvests. It's so rewarding to know that what I'm eating was grown by me, with no strange chemicals, transportation, and hard labor by others. I can't wait for the the next planting season. I do have to admit that having patience waiting for everything to grow is something I never thought of. Patience is definitely a gardening virtue.

    December 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  7. Go to Coffee Klatch

    I thought non-related article posts were going to be discussed under Coffee Klatch. I don't mean to be rude, but I can't stand hearing whether or not someone is into "Hitting that" at the top of the post. I know it's some kind of contest.
    Kat Kinsman, is there any way to have those types of posts moved to Coffee K? I'd love to have an intelligent conversation about the topic at hand.

    December 9, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  8. Nick

    I found out in when I was twenty that the reason I didn't like most vegetables is because I had never had them fresh. Now I pretty much eat everything fresh.

    December 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Reply
  9. Bug Man

    You are completely correct! When you provide for yourself it has a whole new meaning.
    Just work the earth with your hands and the feeling of why we are here comes to life.
    Capture your meat on the plain or in the stream and wella the freshness will blow you away!
    And remember, if it has a label, don't use it.

    December 9, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  10. J.B.Jingles

    "...or out with the fisherman and checking out where the beef, pork, lamb, etc. are raised and the vegetables or produce are planted..." They fish for beef now? Who knew!?

    December 9, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  11. Redd Nekk

    Hey, what gives???
    I thought this was a contest over a girl?
    I'm no %@##*...I ain't hitting no dude

    December 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • Sir Biddle@

      Tazer is a girl, so she can do all she wants with him. Seems this game has gotten popular and opened it up daily to whoever floats whoever's boat.

      December 9, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • Tazer

      This girl says no thanks. Didn't look at the pic before posting.

      December 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Reply
      • Anita

        That's mean.

        December 9, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  12. Truth@All

    Dang!
    A dozen responses in > 90 seconds...SLT must be laughing herself silly...

    December 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  13. Tazer

    GAH!

    December 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  14. Sir Biddle

    BOOO Yaaaaaaa!

    December 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  15. Bill

    I'm out

    December 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  16. Truth

    No thanks!

    December 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  17. Tazer

    I'd hit that...

    December 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
    • Sir Biddle@tazer

      He's all yours Tazer!

      December 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Reply
      • Tazer@SB

        Changed my mind after actually looking at him, no thanks!

        December 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  18. Sir Biddle

    VICTORY!!!!!!!

    December 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  19. Evil Grin still via minion

    Yikes, no.

    December 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  20. Sir Biddle

    I'd hit that, NOT!

    December 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • Evil Grin still via minion

      Haha, well played.

      December 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
    • RichardHead

      Lmao-Well played Sir. See ya back in the lounge.

      December 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
    • Truth@Biddle

      Nicely done!
      Take Jane out fo ra victory drink...
      Even better, perhaps you can get RichHead to use his matchmaking skills to hook her up with Bob, and they can both live happily ever after...!

      December 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Reply
      • Sir Biddle@truth

        Jane was talking about being just shy of retirement and no joke three people almost in unison said they would give her some of their time. Funny thing is her hsband's name IS Bob.

        December 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Reply
      • Truth@Biddle

        What gives? You working late tonight, or did you stay late, so as not to have to "hit it" from the train?

        December 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Reply
      • Sir Biddle@Truth

        I work late Tues and Thurs, and come in early Mon,Wed,Fri.

        December 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Reply
    • Parick

      I'd hit that. I'm talking about the cabbage and carrots.

      December 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Reply

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