So last night I went to a show featuring Anthony Bourdain from the Travel Channel show "No Reservations" and Eric Ripert chef for Le Bernardin, in New York. This program was sponsored by the Indiana Humanities Council and their Food for Thought Initiative.
It was also noted that while on stage they were drinking Sun King Beer from a local brewing company based in Indianapolis. Ripert noted during the performance that he liked the beer and several in the audience cheered as they recognized the Sunlight Cream Ale Can. (I have tried that beer myself and agree, it is good.)
Throughout the first hour there were some quick jabs at each other like Ripert obsession with cooking fish or Bourdain's dislike of cocktails that take longer than 30 seconds to make. The second hour took questions from the audience which ranged from what they wanted to be when they grew up to what their thoughts were on school lunches. One of the things I appreciated most was Anthony and Eric's respect for food from both ends of the food spectrum. They seem to understand and stress the need for both organically grown foods as well as those that are mass produced.
At one point Bourdain said, "Believe me you don't all want to go be farmers."
While I agree it does take a special person to be a farmer, one could be a farmer with a tomato plant in a container on their balcony or raise 1,000 acres of tomato plants. Regardless the size, it takes farmers to keep us all fed. This also lead into the discussion of how both ends balance out the cost of our food and keep it affordable for consumers in any income level. As consumers we have the choice to shop at the local farmers' market, or to go into a large grocery chain to buy our food. We can eat it as is or mix it with other ingredients to create something else. As chefs I think both Anthony and Eric appreciate the preparation and presentation of the food regardless of where it comes from. A good example of this is when Ripert mentioned the Aquaculture industry and how because of their existence it has kept the cost of fish down for consumers to have the option to buy either wild or farm raised fish and fix and serve that according to their own tastes.
At the end of the night I came away with the conclusion that there is room at the table for all levels of food production and sustainability. All are needed to ensure the world stays fed with safe and reliable products that consumers can enjoy.
These are simply my opinions of the show and any references to Bourdaine or Ripert were not exact quotes but hopefully contained the same theme and spirit they were trying to invoke.