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: We’re serving . . . We’re gonna start the meal with Lardo that we’ve cured from Stone Barns. It’s delicious fat, and ironically it’s probably the last place we should start the meal . . . the lover’s meal, but we’re gonna have . . . We brought this like little tweezers, and the waiters are gonna go around to all our diners and have a slice of just cured fat. You have to stick out your tongue and put a slice of cured fat on, right? So it’s a little gimmicky, you know whatever, and a little corny as you said, but you know it gets people in the mood of Valentine’s Day. Plus it’s a local . . . It’s a local . . . It’s our own pigs and they’re delicious, and it’s a way to sort of have fun with it. And we sort of have honey that we harvested in the fall from Stone Barns. We have almost like 300,000 honeybees, and so we made this incredible floral honey. And so we’re gonna warm it up a little bit, have these like paint brushes and go around and paint a person’s hand with a little bit of honey. So you’re gonna have to suck your hand to start, and then there’s gonna be a shooter of sort of champagne tonic to start the meal. So it’s fat, and then there’s honey. So sweet and fatty for the new year . . . I mean for the lover’s year or whatever. I don’t know. So yeah, so the meal is sort of in that. It’s like a little bit fun and, you know, romantic and not so serious.
Recorded on: 2/11/08