Letter To Chefs Of Tomorrow Panned By Food Critic

09/13/2011 04:50 pm 16:50:39 | Updated Nov 13, 2011

The "G9 of chefs," a group of famous chefs from around the world, recently converged in Lima, Peru to, among other things, write a letter to the chefs of tomorrow. The letter was signed by an impressive group of chefs: Ferran Adria (Spain), Yukkio Hattori (Japan), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Michel Bras (France), Rene Redzepi (Denmark), Gaston Acurio (Peru), Alex Atala (Brazil) and Dan Barber (U.S). In the letter, the chefs "dream of a future in which the chef is socially engaged, conscious of and responsible for his or her contribution to a fair and sustainable society."

Sounds pleasant enough, but Guardian restaurant critic Jay Rayner is calling the whole thing "blimey." Rayner says that, despite the chefs supposed commitment to a sustainable society, "a single meal at one of these restaurants will leave a carbon footprint an elephant could sleep in." Plus, the chefs have "made the terrible mistake of thinking anybody really gives a damn what they think... Grand pronouncements like this do no favours to either the chefs who make them or their colleagues."

A bit harsh from a critic who makes his living by eating at restaurants, and a bit of a dig to Barber specifically, since Rayner referred to his restaurant as "Blue Hills" instead of "Blue Hill," and Redzepi got all the local-sourcing credit. (Blue Hill at Stone Barns sources much of its food from its own farm).

Rayner may have a point that "they are chefs cooking dinner for very, very rich people," but we'd like to think that there is a trickle-down effect at stake here. If high-end restaurants commit to serving quality food with societal betterment in mind, more restaurants will likely follow suit. Sure, McDonald's decision to source more sustainable seafood might have a bigger immediate effect than what Michel Bras serves, but starry-eyed or not, at least there's a conversation happening.

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