Sunday, July 10, 2016

My purist whirlpool

When I was planning on opening the Curious Kumquat I told an experienced local chef that I was planning on serving foraged and locally grown foods. I was in a very remote town, in a dry arid ecosystem, with an under-developed farming scene. The chef replied that the model wouldn't work because I wouldn't have the ingredients available consistently or sufficiently enough to serve my customers. I replied, "Why can't I just serve what I have?"

I survived and thrived the final dinner service eight years later.

As I prepare to open my new restaurant in St. Louis I was publicly bemoaning how the farmers markets don't discern between organics and non-organics. Actually, what happened was that I was at a booth run by an Amish family and saw on their sign that "berries without pesticides available too." Huh?!

So I posted this on Facebook and another chef, who I know is hyper committed to local like me, responded that you just can't get peaches in Missouri if you don't use pesticides. My visceral reaction was - who gives a shit about peaches?! Why can't I serve what I know is organically raised and not serve the produce that can't be organically raised in Missouri?

I don't feel the need to limit myself with this ideologic straight-jacket, but I also don't feel the need to serve peaches when there is plenty of other produce out there (grown and foraged) that will meet my needs.

Different strokes and I'll eat anything, but I won't serve just anything.

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