Wowza. It’s been a big week in food, so I just had to share with you.
Firstly, a lawyer, now high profile weight loss author, has just launched his second book to a fair share of controversy. Not so much that this is another diet book stemming from an over-enthusiastic personal success story. But that the underlying marketing tactic seems to be to trash my profession? Isn’t that rude I hear you say?
Anyway, that’s all the column inches I’m devoting to that one…not even one linky, sorry. I could go on about evidence based science vs. cherry picking research, my distaste at demonising foods and breaking down the multifactorial disease of obesity, into one simple “saviour” behaviour, for ALL. But I have so much more important things to tell you. After spending the week with some of the top chefs in the world at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, you may be surprised to hear from this dietitian, that they well and truly speak my language:
Ben Shewry – Attica Melbourne
Ben is one of the those deep thinking kind of men that, at times, suffer for their art. A founding member of the new breed of humble, sharing and caring chefs, he’s making shock waves around the world. They’ve resonated with Rene Redzepi from the current world’s best restaurant, Noma in Copenhagen, who also has the same philosophy. No longer are niche purveyors and suppliers kept secret, but instead celebrated and shared so they too can grow and prosper. Ben has a deep environmental empathy and mourned the day he realised that he MUST remove a large finned, non-sustainable fish from the menu. It was the right thing to do. His team makes the most of the environment and forage around in laneways and beaches for edibles, like salt bush or kelp, that we walk by. They support my faves Melbourne City Rooftop Honey, helping keep our food supply alive through pollination. They encourage farmers to have polycultures and be proud of their produce. And they replaced large finned fish with local, sustainable Sea Bounty mussels (another fave) and have been singing their praise ever since. Why is this important? If the top restaurant in my town or your town talks, people listen. And that means more good food. More local, quality food and a healthy food supply, for you and me, for a very long time.
If you have trouble viewing this video, please jump back to the blog.
Rene Redzepi – NOMA Copenhagen
Other chefs echoed this philosophy like Massimo Bottura and even David Chang, but no one louder than Rene Redzepi who I had the pleasure of hearing speak for the second time. Rene’s enlightened moment was the idea of distilling nature onto a plate. To show the guest where they are in the world. He has taken his philosophy one step further, along with gastronomic entrepreneur, Claus Meyer, in the Nordic Manifesto and the Nordic Food Lab. In which the essence I believe, holds our best chance of a healthy food future.
1. To express the purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics we wish to associate with our region.2. To reflect the changing of the seasons in the meals we make.3. To base our cooking on ingredients and produce whose characteristics are particularly excellent in our climates, landscapes and waters.4. To combine the demand for good taste with modern knowledge of health and well-being.5. To promote Nordic products and the variety of Nordic producers – and to spread the word about their underlying cultures.6. To promote animal welfare and a sound production process in our seas, on our farmland and in the wild.7. To develop potentially new applications of traditional Nordic food products.8. To combine the best in Nordic cookery and culinary traditions with impulses from abroad.9. To combine local self-sufficiency with regional sharing of high-quality products.10. To join forces with consumer representatives, other cooking craftsmen, agriculture, the fishing, food , retail and wholesale industries, researchers, teachers, politicians and authorities on this project for the benefit and advantage of everyone in the Nordic countries.