Priorities for the President

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The 12 "Art. Food. Hope." dinners held in the Washington area Monday raised money for local food organizations D.C. Central Kitchen, Martha's Table and FreshFarm Markets. The events also intended to put food on the political agenda. Here's a look at the chefs, their dishes and the priorities they suggest for the Obama administration.

Chef: José Andrés
Flagship Restaurant: Minibar -- Washington
Sample Menu Item: Slow-roasted suckling pig from Polyface Farm with carrots and Brussels sprouts
On His Wish List: "A secretary of food is vital. If we take care of food, we take care of farmers."

Chef: Dan Barber
Flagship Restaurant: Blue Hill -- New York
Sample Menu Item: Stone Barns farm egg with beluga lentils, curry and greenhouse greens carrots
On His Wish List: "If the president wants to deal with energy independence, the state of nutrition and the environmental crisis, he needs to see the connection between the way our food is raised and the land is used."

Chef: Lidia Bastianich
Flagship Restaurant: Felidia -- New York
Sample Menu Item: Risotto with duck guazzetto
On Her Wish List: "We should support and encourage small farmers so that nutritious, sound and safe foods are accessible to all the people in America, not just for the elite."

Chef: Rick Bayless
Flagship Restaurant: Frontera Grill -- Chicago
Sample Menu Item: Tortilla soup of roasted tomatoes, pasilla chili peppers, maitake mushrooms and local cheese
On His Wish List: The Obamas "eat good, fresh, healthy food all the time. And they're cool. They could set an example . . . that I think could make a bigger impact than trying to legislate" specific food policy."

Chef: Daniel Boulud
Flagship Restaurant: Daniel -- New York
Sample Menu Item: Maryland crab salad with green apple gelee and celery root remoulade
On His Wish List: "We need better traceability of ingredients. It's important we know where food comes from and how it's produced."

Chef: Tom Colicchio
Flagship Restaurant: Craft -- New York
Sample Menu Item: Nantucket Bay scallop with salsify and black trompettes
On His Wish List: "I would like mandatory disclosure on all genetically modified food."

Chef: Floyd Cardoz
Flagship Restaurant: Tabla -- New York
Sample Menu Item: Crab cake with papadum, Goan avocado salad and tamarind chutney
On His Wish List: "We need to improve the quality of meals served in schools, with an emphasis on healthy, minimally processed, locally sourced ingredients."

Chef: Joan Nathan, Washington cookbook author
Sample Menu Item: Ayrshire chicken with olives and preserved lemons
On Her Wish List: "We need a policy that pushes sustainability. . . . Why not redirect some subsidies for soy, cotton and corn and create an incentive program to help farmers grow more healthy, sustainable and organic food?"

Chef: Michel Nischan
Flagship Restaurant: Dressing Room -- Westport, Conn.
Sample Menu Item: Pan-fried angel food cake with quince compote and vanilla fondue
On His Wish List: "We should offer incentives to our farmers in all states to supply healthy, affordable food directly to our most vulnerable citizens increasingly using food stamps, WIC and reduced-cost school lunch programs."

Chef: Scott Peacock
Flagship Restaurant: Watershed Restaurant -- Atlanta
Sample Menu Item: Roasted Cedar Creek pork with lemon-glazed sweet potatoes, braised greens and slow-simmered heirloom peas
On His Wish List: "Grow arugula on the lawn. As a matter of fact, I'll bet that the lawn and Rose Garden are heavily sprayed with nasty chemicals. If so, change it to pesticide-free flowers and fruits."

Chef: Nancy Silverton
Flagship Restaurant: Osteria Mozza -- Los Angeles
Sample Menu Item: Torta della nonna with honeycomb and pine nuts
On Her Wish List: "I'd like to see [the White House chef] take the emphasis off of so-called 'fancy' or 'gourmet' food and put it onto what's really important: that friends and family take the time to sit and eat together."

Chef: Alice Waters
Flagship Restaurant: Chez Panisse -- Berkeley, Calif.
Sample Menu Item: Brandade of local rockfish with rocket and herb salad
On Her Wish List: "My hope is that the White House itself becomes a symbol of sustainability that includes both food and the growing of it."

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