The green tribe
· 28 July 2011
Today’s foodies go beyond buying organic produce; the true believers now want to cultivate their food to get in on the plot-to-plate trend. Are we ready to become urban ‘farmers’?
In the Michael Pollan era of food and drink, growing your own makes sense. Pollan’s The New York Times bestselling volumes—The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defence of Food, may have shed light on food safety issues and gotten the farm-to-table trend rolling. But it was Alice Waters, pioneered the delicious revolution back in the 1970s, who championed the use of organic and locally-grown ingredients at her restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Waters’ philosophy has less to do with recipes and techniques than they do with gathering, growing and cooking with the freshest produce; it’s a rapidly evolving movement in urban settings.
The current culinary mood is all about eco-gastronomy—an idea that fine dining is rooted in the soil and locally sourced produce and no one exemplifies this better than René Redzepi’s Noma restaurant (currently rated no. 1 in the S. Pellegrino world’s 50 Best Restaurants) which makes use of wild and indigenous ingredients. Danny Meyer’s Maialino restaurant in New York City also goes as far as to nurture 30 varieties of vegetables on its roof.
However, the lack of land in Singapore may be one of the biggest deterrents for chefs aspiring to be urban farmers; and it’s perhaps why most restaurants have started small with just a modest garden or a few potted herb plants.
Excerpt from the August issue of epicure.