“As cooks and eaters we need to engage in the nuts and bolts of true agricultural sustainability” Dan Barber
Nose to Tail eating is a well-known part of the sustainable Chef’s repertoire. They show respect for the whole animal and also educate consumers by preparing cuts that were previously left behind. Fergus Henderson the longtime pioneer of the philosophy has just won a Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award at The Worlds 50 Best Restaurants.
In a New York Times article today on the Farm to Table movement Dan Barber describes how the success and consumer appetite for local and sustainable food in the last decade has not significantly dented the industrialised Food System. A visit to a grain farmer-supplier helped Dan realise the need to adopt a “nose to tail approach” to the whole farm. In order to produce his final crop Klaas the farmer was rotating cover crops to improve the soil quality (mustard, legumes, millet, rye, brassica, barley). Dan’s response to this insight was to put a “rotation risotto” on his menu to create demand for the uncelebrated crops. Instead of just cherrypicking the end products as farm to table, restaurants and consumers need to look at embracing the whole crop of the farmer. To do this would need a stronger network of middlemen to divert these crops from animal feed as well as a shift in thinking and demand to appreciated their value in a non linear food chain.