The “Farm to Table” movement has become an idea that many chefs throughout our country have began to embrace and showcase on their menus. To be able to state that the Heirloom Tomatoes that you used to create your beautiful gazpac
ho came from a few miles down the road (or even on property), gives a chef this indisputable sense of pride.
You used to have to wake up at midnight and bribe your purveyors to get the freshest ingredients, now Chefs are found boasting that they are using a carrot pulled from the ground earlier that morning.
Many properties, coast to coast, have even gone as far as planting their own gardens; introducing an entirely new aspect to the kitchen. If a line cook has to tend to and care for his bounty, he begins to appreciate and respects his ingredients. The line cook is able to then comprehend exactly how much energy goes into producing a single plant.
Teaching a young line cook the importance of foraging, gardening, and harvesting makes them an irreplaceable asset in any kitchen. The knowledge to use an ingredient at the peak of its maturity, preserving it’s optimal integrity will make any dish just that much “fresher.”
Since the early eighties and even before, long time chefs like Alice Waters have been advocating the movement which seems to just now be in full swing. The practice not only allows chefs to eat fresh, but it also opens the doors to a whole new world of education. New ingredients, new skill sets and the ability to apply our already established skills in a way that naturally enhances the flavors of our everyday ingredients.
It is becoming a normality to see a Farmer or Gardener on the employee roster of restaurants every where. Farmers Markets and Local co-ops are sprouting up and beginning to support local farmers and seasonal ingredients raising the bar on a national level. Restaurants everywhere are putting out food at a higher quality simply because the ingredients they choose to use are the best.
Simply put: In order to cook great food… you have to start with great food.