Lee Anne Wong

Lee Anne Wong on why the chefs should step-up to the challenge and stop bitching.

on Dec 6, 2006

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I am a huge fan of greenmarkets, local farming, and C.S.A.s (Community Supported Agriculture). There is a general movement in the restaurant business these days to support and showcase the products of smaller businesses and farms. Chefs are becoming more and more involved with sustainable agriculture, acting as the voices and architects for products that look and taste better, and will help to preserve the earth in the years to come. It is not only a more responsible practice (big business farming is terrible for our environment for many reasons), but on the flipside can add dollar value to your menu.

I will admit, I sometimes find it to be exploitative and overbearing to look at a menu where every dish reads like: "Bigfoot Farms Oven roasted Pork Belly, Santa Claus Rivers Petite Fingerling Potato Fondue, Leprechaun Valley Organic Sun-dried Green Zebra Heirloom Tomato Confit, Herb Salad picked from the Chef's Backyard." You get the idea. Most of the time I feel that it is in earnest, paying homage to those who spend their lives growing and raising that which eventually becomes lunch or dinner. On occasion I feel it is overkill, like just hopping on the gravy train of the public's general interest in eating organic and local.