Change: It's not all on chefs' plates
June 12th, 2013
05:00 PM ET
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Editor's Note: Greg Drescher is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at The Culinary Institute of America. Drescher is also an inductee of the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. He is a speaker at the Menus of Change summit in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from June 10-12. The conference is hosted by The Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition.

If there’s one group of people who are best positioned to reshape America’s appetites, it’s chefs.

At The Culinary Institute of America, we educate the next generation of the nation’s culinary leaders about the techniques of their craft and the principles of flavor.

Increasingly though, our students must understand that, to be successful, they must also think about the health and wellness of their patrons - and that buzzword sustainability.

The food industry is changing across many dimensions, and chefs and culinary professionals must keep pace.
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Chefs with Issues: 'People hurt, we feed.'
May 22nd, 2013
11:15 AM ET
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Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Allison Robicelli is the co-owner (with her husband Matt) of Robicelli's, an award-winning cupcake business in New York City, and author of the upcoming "Robicelli's: A Love Story, with Cupcakes." Follow her on Twitter @robicellis.

My husband and I lost our first business in the fall of 2009. There were a billion contributing factors: a collapsing economy, a rent hike, a horrific family tragedy and a crumbling marriage that needed to be saved. Talking about it four years later seems like a trivial footnote in our story - some sort of inciting plot device that occurred offstage, scarcely remembered by the time the curtains closed. They hustled, they persevered, they became Q-list food celebrities and they all lived happily ever after.

No matter how far into the story we get, like a broken bone that never quite heals, I can still feel those initial moments of fallout as if they were yesterday: the fear of truly having lost it all; the jarring realization that in an instant, everything we had built may be gone forever and we might not not be strong enough to rebuild. I recall looking at my children and wondering how we let this happen, if we could have prevented it and how we can protect them when we couldn’t even protect ourselves.

It was worse than terror; it was a life without hope. A life I thought of ending more than once.

While we survived, I have been unable to purge the memory of what I felt in those months. The feeling rose again and turned into empathy in the days after Superstorm Sandy, and again this week watching a tornado destroy Moore, Oklahoma.
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Serving up comfort food after a tragedy
April 18th, 2013
03:30 PM ET
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Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Jason Bond is the chef at Bondir in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter @jwadebond.

The day started with the Boston Marathon and a state holiday. It ended in tragedy and left residents, like me, with so many unanswered questions.

Why would someone attack an event that was about celebration, one where many of the thousands of participants were raising money for over two thousand charities? Why would they use such a ferocious method as bombs packed with ball bearings and nails?

In the span of 15 seconds, three people lost their lives. Hundreds of others, from the injured and their families to those who witnessed the blast firsthand, were cruelly ripped from the lives they'd always known and forced into a darker view of the world. The residents of Boston were shocked, sickened and even pissed off.

Most of us felt helpless, but wanted to be of use. The city and its people quickly mobilized to help each other. Boston is tight and takes care of its own.

We realized that we each help by doing what we do; medics medicate, journalists report, the police protect. As a restaurateur I did what I do, which is care for people and provide sustenance and healing.
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Filed under: Boston • Chefs • Chefs with Issues • Culture • Feed the Soul • Restaurant News • Restaurants • Rituals • Travel


Chefs with Issues: Farm-to-table should still be on the table
February 4th, 2013
01:00 PM ET
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Editor's Note: Chris Hastings is the James Beard Award-winning chef of the acclaimed Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama.

The first time I heard a prominent chef bemoan the phrase "farm-to-table," I was in New York meeting with a group of chefs to discuss topics in and around our industry.

I cocked my head in that direction as if to say, “Did I just hear what I think I did?”

Another chef quickly chimed in that he was also "so tired of the farm-to-table movement," like it was no longer a legitimate or important way of thinking.

Seriously? That moment was neither the time nor place to have a debate so I chose, uncharacteristically, to make a note and keep my mouth shut - until now.
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