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Barack Obama's White House Chef Choices Announced!

post #1 of 9
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So The choices are between:

Rick Bayless - Owner of Chicago Mexican restaurants Topolobampo and Frontera Grill.
Signature Dish: Bayless founded his high-end Mexican restaurants to prove that genuine Mexican cooking can be as sophisticated as French and Italian. His grilled skirt steak tacos with caramelized onions are a favorite.

Daniel Young - Current Job: Personal chef to Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony.
Signature Style: Young is a fan of using spices to bring out the flavor in low-calorie dishes. His signature dish is seafood stew with crab-stuffed chicken breasts.

Art Smith - Current Job: Winfrey's personal chef for the past decade. Owner of Chicago's Table Fifty-Two.
Signature Style: Smith is a proponent of organic foods and fresh local fruits and vegetables. His signature dish is pistachio-crusted chicken breast with coconut-ginger-chili sauce, lo mein noodles and string vegetables.

More info can be found at:
Chef Executive: Three cooks in the running for Obama's top White House kitchen post
"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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post #2 of 9
Interesting selection. So what are the criteria for choosing a White House chef?
Emily

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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #3 of 9
I don't know the criteria, but here's an interesting article about how Obama might broaden his culinary horizons: Michael Nagrant: The President-Elect Has No (Culinary) Clothes?

I second the nudge to check out Alinea!
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post #4 of 9
Rick Bayless was also past chairman of chef's collaborative.

A few days ago I got news from a chef friend in the DC beltway that the Obama white house has also selected a sustainable choice advisory counsel to the Dept of Ag. The list of members is a good mix.

Michael Pollan is coming to town this week, I'd love to know what his thoughts are on the formation/make up of this counsel.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 9
Julie!
Your cat appointed to the FDA or USDA would make a significant improvement. Having worked with them in the past and seeing first hand what goes in and on.What they allow is a joke (no sorry sad).
Our whole inspection and food chain practices has come down to economics, dollars and cents and politics. We have all heard in the past that an enemy could contaminate our food and water supply. Well they don't have to the FDA & USDA WILL DO IT and permit it before they do.. :cry::cry::cry:
CHEFED
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post #6 of 9
2001, I saw the dealings of our State Agriculture Dept up close when I was on Gov. Holden's advisory counsel. 33 commodity people....egg growers, corn growers, cattlemen, turkey growers, pork group, etc.....then the token "organic" farmer's market member. We traveled the state doing site visits to different businesses.....ethenol plant owned by a group of corn farmers, university R&D growing plots, eau d' vie development lab, grain distribution space with GMO detectors for foreign business....2001 remember,........
there were open hearrings with the public (normally farmers, but a good 20% were activists/concerned citizens.....about that time puppy mills were in a huge mess). At that time we learned about farmers aging out and land/training not being affordable nor available to the young incoming.....we learned of the poverty ripple, where usually the wife works off the farm for insurence & income......we learned how gov't regs benefited the huge industrial farms/processors ie, an organic dairy farm had to have certain equipment that was (not essential) mandated and outrageous cost prohibitive.....

I can remember sitting at dinner near the Sec of Ag and overhearring a conversation about lawsuits and CAFO's. The state was pushing hard for them.....
Farm Bureau was intrinsic in the department. It was almost tramatic to realize that our elected officials were really into supporting CAFO's. I got to see one of our senator's facilities at one of the dinners at his farm. I was the only one that asked for a tour.

Every where we stopped to eat, I'd ask if the food was grown in MO. really tee'd off the Dept of Ag guys......who missed the point that if your farmers are in bad straights buying from them and hosting events at places that provide local food (storied food) will help them....(DUH). We had an entourage of 50+ people going around the state for 6 weeks, there was alot of money being spent on feeding us. Everytime we ate, I would talk to my dining neighbors about what was available at the farmer's market.....how local blackberries were so much better than whatever was coming out of CA....get them to remember their mom's cobbler's or pies. Tell them what city (STL) folks pay for food....eggs freaked them out, compared market prices to Whole Foods.....at that time the market was new and the concept of "growers only market" in MO was novel. At that time there were an awful lot of good stories to grab their interest. Bet some are still in Cheftalk's archives.

The Dept Head of Ag hired a 23 year veteren of Monsanto to moderate the conference.....any guesses on his agenda?:o

Funny, later on we requested transcripts of the tapes from the sunshine law.....seems red tape runs deep.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 9
Most of our veges come from Chili, Costa Rica, Dominica ,Hondouras,
Our fish from Far East, Viet Nam,
Our meats maybe now 35% from assorted countries around the world.
Candy and Gum from China
Cakes and snax Mexico

Where does it end????

Yet just going by where I live ,Florida last year only 2% of the seafood brought into the state was inspected.

In my opinion in 5 years there will be no more farms or farmers, it does not pay them to grow.
Our auto production is over so why shouldnt everything else go to.???? :cry:
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post #8 of 9
Yep ... and the worse thing is that we did it to ourselves.

Case in point, the automotive industry. Due to union labor costs which is significantly ABOVE average, it costs $75/hour to build a car whereas the Japanese can do this for $40/hr.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to buy a reproduction Victorian camel back sofa. (I was living at the time in a Victorian house built in 1873 and was refurishing and remodeling the ground floor along Victorian lines). A stateside company offered to make this by hand for $3000 not including the cost of shipping.

Having lived and worked overseas, I knew a Pakistani furniture making who built furniture to order. I sent him pictures of the type of sofa I was interested in along with pictures of the fabric so that he could reproduce the pattern. He wrote back to tell me that the production would be "very expensive."

How expensive?

$300 ... ONE-TENTH of what the American company was charging.

Why was this so cheap?

It was the cost of labor. A Pakistani craftsman only makes a few hundred dollars a MONTH. The cost of shipping this from Islamabad to Boston and then freighting it to Pennsylvania added on another $400.

How can our labor market compete?
post #9 of 9
oh Ed, I have a different picture.....my picture is local food being raised and sold in areas where it's grown. Our food system in STL has changed in the past 10 years to include:
4 growers markets

a farmer coop owned grocery

a local foods grocery

a 250 member CCSA.....local food grown/produced fair share, you pay $50 a week and get a bag of locally produced/grown food.....there is a waiting list. It has been a God send to alot of small farmers

a restauranteur who sold his 25+ year old restaurant to his daughter and developed a local foods wholesale to restaurant business.....it is thriving after 5-6 mos.

a new non-profit that is based on a 14 acre innercity organic farm that will have appreticeship programs.....since it's based in the city they are looking those that have day jobs yet want to learn.

St. Louis University just recieved two grants,
one for setting up a local food processor for a small school system, to train the school staff how to process during growing season and utelize locally grown. 3 year $300,00 grant. Oh, the school system is in STL but the town of maplewood has a huge percentage of section 8 housing.

the other is for a garden to work with OT's and kids with autism.

More restaurants/chefs are using whole critters.....

More people are requesting local

Some farmers are making a living on farming an acre.....one of my friends raises produce 10 months a year, 25,000# grossing $70k net is close.....on one acre. It is possible.

This is only the shtuff I know about in my city.....there are numerous other cities doing similar things.....

I firmly believe that if we get good food into children's mouths they will have a taste memory for the future. There's alot of work that needs to be done on this front.

I firmly believe farmers, farm stands, farmers markets are a way of life that will not go by the wayside anytime soon.

At one time I wrote a decent thread on the cost of a 99 cent hamburger, wonder if it can be resurrected.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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