In search of the truth, Special Agents William Neal and Patrick Cuccaro explore the mysterious Green world of sustainable special events and catering. What myths will they shatter? What will they uncover?
The Truth is out there…so we’re told.
Welcome to the first in a 3-part series we’re calling, “HEY YOU, WHAT’S FOR DINNER?”, with a very specific agenda in mind. Your Special Agents have made it their mission as foodies to help readers learn about the attention paid to food sourcing, the outlook for their long-term global viability and how chefs around the world are becoming some of the most ardent voices for sustainability. Plan on discovering facts that will inspire you and learn about some incredible foods, all the while having fun with your favorite Green Team!
WILLIAM: Back in the early 80s, while I was working in Europe as a chef, someone said something that has stuck with me all these years. You may remember in Episode 10: The Uber Tuber I mentioned the mother of the chef I worked with and her amazing garden from which we ate many a great meal. Well, one afternoon we were chatting. I was rolling out some almond dough for an amazing apple tart we had on the menu, telling her about how back in the States I had learned to make a similar dessert called tarte tatin in iron skillets and how it was one of my absolute favorites.
PATRICK: I love that one, too! Caramelized apples on crispy pastry, a little ice cream on the side and you are reminded that there IS a heaven!
WILLIAM: Well, then she said, “So, where did the apples come from?” I simply answered that I didn’t really know, but that, “Just any Granny Smith apple would do.”
She looked me straight in the eye for a second, took a deep breath and said, “Chef William, it is criminal to not know where your apples came from! How could you have true pride in the dessert you were making if you did not really know what you were working with! This is a purely criminal culinary act!”
PATRICK: What happened next? What did you say to her?
WILLIAM: I was actually in a mild state of shock. Not only because she was dead serious, but also because as I broke it down in my mind for days, months and now years later…I realized that she was right! Here was a woman who simply could not get her head around NOT knowing that she either grew the apple herself, knew the person who grew it or at least knew where the orchard was that produced it. That was her “quality control” method, her excellence meter, her truest comfort factor.
PATRICK: She taught you a good lesson, Agent Neal. So much of what we consume has a pedigree that is absent from our minds even when we take the first bite. As we have investigated in many episodes, if we really KNEW the sources of our food, we would and should view them differently.
WILLIAM: This very profound concept of understanding your food is forming the backbone of a global food movement. At the front line are chefs who in every corner of the world are becoming less of a cutter-chopper-cook and more of a sourcing expert. The connection between food source and quality has been prevalent in cultures for as long as mankind has existed, but the modern world lost its path with the invention of agribusiness.
PATRICK: Along the same lines, I would say that broader subjects include the effects of culture, climate, economics, conflict, etc., on world food production and supply.
WILLIAM: True and yes. I want to investigate this as we produce this 3-part series.
PATRICK: For sure! Agent Neal, let’s get back to chefs, food sourcing and Green for a sec…Who would you say is a model for culinary-oriented sustainability?
WILLIAM: One of the first names that usually pops up with the general public is Barbara Kingslover who wrote the epic read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle where she documented her family’s journey into producing everything they ate, for an entire year! She did a brilliant job of connecting with the average person and family life. On a professional level though, Chef Thomas Keller of the famous “The French Laundry” in Napa Valley would be at the head of the class. His restaurants have served as sustainable templates for operations worldwide.
PATRICK: An amazing place! I look forward to getting into this subject deeper and deeper over the next couple of episodes! Keller is a master of sourcing, for sure.
WILLIAM: My investigations have uncovered some great sources, some great facts, and of course I hope that they will inspire us all! I might have even discovered some new recipes to share! How about a locally sourced menu for 150 people…sound good?
PATRICK: I can’t wait. and I am getting hungry already!
To be continued…
What restaurants to do regularly visit because you’re a fan of their sustainability initiatives?
Join us IN TWO WEEKS on June 9 for Part 2 in our 3-part series.
NOTE: Our special agents are frequently undercover for in-depth investigations. They will be reporting in every two weeks.
This week’s 3Rs…
REVEALED: Global Food Production
REVERED: Save the Oceans, Feed the World
REVILED: War Colored Shades of Green