Alice Waters vs. the techno-chefs: The evolution of wild gourmet

Really interesting conversation about, well a lot of things, but at its heart: how do we feed everyone in the future? Using Alice Waters to represent romantic back to earth sustainable food that only needs to be simply cooked with Redzepi et al who (as I understand it) use basically the same type of ingredients as Alice or do more high tech things with them. Never really understood how the later was better, nonetheless a provocative conversation worth reading.


When I read Emma Marris’ critical but ultimately hopeful essay about gourmet food (in Breakthrough Journal), my interest was piqued. Marris wrote the book Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, and has generated challenging and influential ideas about nature. Now she’s applied some of those same ideas to food.

She argues that a new wave of star chefs can serve as a model for relating more harmoniously to our environment. This means the path to sustainability could be marked by delicious dinners.

I was fascinated by this, but I was also confused. I had always thought of Alice Waters as the foremost example of eating our way to sustainability, yet for Marris, Waters is the counterexample: She criticizes Waters for being impractical and rigid.

I asked Marris about this. Our email conversation, which you can read below, turned into one of those collaborative arguments where — instead of trying to win — we ended…

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About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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