Chef-gatherer

It’s a trend probably coming from the north, from Redzepi’s Noma, respectively turning the chef into a chef-gatherer. I understand why that happens in Nordic countries, where nothing grows for six months a year. Meaning, I understand where the impulse stems from. However, I don’t think it’s appropriate for us chefs to get out from between our pots and pans to start gathering mushrooms, berries, apples, pears, tomatoes which we’d then overcharge for, just because we spent some time hand-picking them. True, in a country such as Romania, where cheating people is still a national sport and the honest vegetable farmer is still hard to find, it can often be wiser to make the effort of choosing yourself the things you want for your restaurant, but even so, I think our efforts as kitchen or restaurant chefs should focus on educating suppliers (we can do that easily) rather than digging and weeding. If we carefully observe the TV stars that started this trend, we will see they are gardeners, gatherers, butchers, even though in some cases the farms belong to them. What we put in food is our responsibility, but at least until it enters the kitchen, we can share that responsibility with other links of the chain. Problem is, we may start enjoying gathering more than cooking, and there’s already too little of us in the kitchen.

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