The Chefs Collaborative National Summit, now winding up its stay in Seattle, covered plenty of sustainable ground yesterday, with sessions addressing everything from beef grading to ocean acidification. But the chefs' network squeezed in a few more topics this morning in a series of 15-minute talks at the Seattle Art Museum informally described as "TED for foodies."
Here, a few of the more quotable lines from the proceedings:
One of the things we have to look at is portion size. None of our alchemy will ever make a sustainable seafood buffet sustainable...We have the confidence as chefs to put whatever we want on the menu, but we don't have the confidence to stand up to someone who wants salmon. If you can put monkfish on the menu, why can't you take salmon off? -- Barton Seaver, author and National Geographic fellow, on how and what sustainability-minded chefs should serve.
The smallest sustainable farmer can't get rid of the whole chicken because there isn't a market for alternative free-range wings. So they're trying to make their money back through breast meat. You as chefs could help by butchering your own chickens. -- Andrew Gunther, director of Animal Welfare Approved, on the high cost of humanely-raised chickens.
This is not about squash blossoms, this is about potatoes. -- JD Kemp, founder of FoodEx, on improving food distribution systems.
If we can't get money out of politics, we need to get our money into politics. With a quick back-of-the-napkin calculation, I can list about five million people for the good food movement, if that's what you want to call it. If we all gave $10, we'd have $50 million. That might be enough for us to buy a good portion of the farm bill. -- Dan Imhoff, author of Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill, on how chefs can help change the nation's food system.
There are always people who want to turn back the clock, who say 'What if we could make Seattle a Salmon Nation again, man?' Well, we can't. But we can look to Alaska. -- Author Paul Greenberg on the importance of fighting the Pebble Mine project.
At an institution, thousands of people are handed ingredients. They don't get to choose their chickens. The (institution's) single decision about where the chicken comes from affects thousands of people. - Kemp
Just because you might not believe in frozen seafood for your menu doesn't mean we don't have a responsibility to advocate for it in home kitchens. I'm not saying you should put it on your menu. But if Cooking Light or Fine Cooking calls you up, put it in your recipe! - Seaver, preaching the gospel of frozen and canned seafood.
You could run for office. That's probably not a bad idea. If an actor can become president, certainly a chef could." - Imhoff
If you're over 50, you used to have chicken as a Sunday dinner. It wasn't a staple. Poultry is not a sustainable product. We can't produce its food on farms. We're cutting down rainforests to grow soy. We have to look at other solutions. - Gunther, dashing dreams of a sustainable chicken industry.
It is a system of life which this group should get behind 180 million percent. It is the food fight of our generation. If chefs and food writers can't (protect) this salmon, we just aren't good. - Greenberg