business news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece in Newsweek this week by chef Wolfgang Puck in which he addresses a change in his approach to acquiring food.

“I've been thinking a lot lately about how it's up to chefs like me to help everyone stay healthy,” he writes. “It's not just about reducing obesity and diabetes, though that's obviously a priority. It's about getting every one of us to eat the right foods. That means buying produce from responsible farmers who grow fruits and vegetables that aren't covered with pesticides or genetically modified. It means getting meat from ranchers who not only shun the use of antibiotics and growth hormones, but also raise their animals humanely in a free-roaming environment.

“I'm not going soft, or, heaven forbid, vegan. I'm just trying to be more accountable to myself, my customers and to those who are farming responsibly. And if it means being nicer to animals along the way, well, that's a big bonus. Why shouldn't cows and pigs feel sunlight on their backs, grass under their feet? Fish shouldn't be jammed into tanks too full for them to even think about swimming. They should be able to exercise their muscles and feel a current. Yes, they'll be killed for food—but until then, they should have a nice stay on Earth.”

Puck says that he’s been thinking about making such a public shift and declaration for some time, and decided now the time is right. “I'm hoping other chefs will follow suit,” he writes. “If I can get my foods from responsible ranchers and farmers and feed millions of people each year—and not raise prices—then chefs who cook for smaller audiences can do this, too. And one by one, we'll all benefit. The way I see it, our future will be filled with more chefs and fewer doctors.”
KC's View:
If he’s right, and the world will have more chefs and fewer doctors, then we’re willing to sign on right now.

There may be a real trend here. The Washington Post reports that there is “a growing number of chefs in Washington and elsewhere who, motivated by a mix of ethical and pragmatic concerns, are trying to serve only fish that can reproduce at the rate they're being caught.

It all probably will lead to a television series on the Food Network. First there was the Galloping Gourmet, and then the Frugal Gourmet. Next, inevitably, there will probably be the Sustainable Gourmet.