DAN BARBER is the Chef of Blue Hill, a restaurant in Manhattan's West Village, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located within the nonprofit farm and education center, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. His opinions on food and agricultural policy have appeared in the New York Times, along with many other publications. Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006) and the country's Outstanding Chef (2009). In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.
To expand on his philosophy of cooking with sustainably grown, local ingredients, Dan has been working with such organizations as the Kellogg Foundation, Slow Food USA and Earth Pledge to minimize the political and intellectual rhetoric around agricultural policies and to instead maximize the appreciation of eating good food. Focusing on the issues of pleasure, taste and regional bounty-and how these imperatives are threatened-Dan helped create the philosophical and practical framework for Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and continues to help guide it in its mission to create a consciousness about the effects of everyday food choices.
He is author of the book The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.
Dan Barber: Well you can eat with a clear conscience anything that’s . . . Well from the animal point of view you can eat anything that eats grass. I mean beef . . . You know beef, dairy, that’s what New England was built on. Literally the landscape was cleared so that animals could have this great access to grass. We have all the conditions here for the most perfect . . . the most perfect diet, and like I said buffet of delicious grass. And so it seems to me like, you know, taking advantage of that through our farmers and encouraging our farmers to take advantage of that landscape of that grass diet is really important. And then . . . And then I would suggest, you know, root vegetables and fall hearty crops are totally abundant in this locality, you know and our diet should reflect that in the fall and the winter. And like I said I have a great natural advantage with the cold because of the sugar levels. And they’re also showing a real linkage, a real correspondence between bricks levels, high sugar content and healthful food. You know minerality; nutrient density; all of that is because the vegetable needs to struggle a little bit to survive, it . . . Like our personalities when we’re in situations that are difficult for us, it creates a personality that’s much more intriguing. Well it’s the same with a vegetable. It creates in order to survive in its conditions that are conducive to survival. It’s creating defenses against . . . up against freeze, against disease. And those defenses when we ingest them tend not only to be flavorful, but very healthful. Recorded on: 2/11/08