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.
Question: What inspired this project?
Dan Barber: Well you know it wasn’t me. I mean it was a group of people, right? I mean it was the . . . It was the . . . You know it was some people who worked with Mr. Rockefeller who were intent on seeing this return back to agriculture. I mean Mr. Rockefeller used to milk cows in the middle of the . . . what is now the dining room. So there’s a real history there, and to return that seemed, you know, an intoxicating possibility, especially at this time in our . . . in our world where food . . . the consciousness about food is becoming more realized for people across the Board. And so to have this asset, this place that’s right outside New York City where it’s completely accessible – it’s really a public use facility – is a good opportunity to talk about these issues, and to display them in real life. So you know there was a group of people who were interested in seeing that come to fruition, and luckily it did.
Recorded on: 2/11/08