The July issue of Seattle Met features the Food Lovers A to Z, our big fat compendium of all things notably edible and potable around the region. I contributed an essay about the person who means perhaps the most to me along the food chain that connects the seeds of the food I’m eating to meal set before me in a restaurant.
Yes, the talent of the chef means a ton to me. The server’s mood and demeanor can make or break what I’ll take away from my meal. Nobody’s going to get very far without the dishwashers.
But only the farmer (or fisherperson, or forager, or rancher…) can really be called the unsung hero, for the unrelenting behind-the-scenes sweat required to nurture the pure, exquisite ingredients chefs and diners demand. The best chefs know this, and find all kinds of ways to throw love to their suppliers—fierce loyalty to namechecks on menus. Some nurture symbiotic relationships that bring benefit to both; all showcase conspiracies between raw ingredients and culinary skill that make diners wiser and happier consumers.
It's nice to see celebrity chefs humbled for a change.
“Of the myriad pleasures available to a restaurant critic, the one that means the most to me, by far, is eating food prepared by a chef who bows before the artistry of the producer.”
I wrote it and I mean it. Now you can read the rest of the essay.