More Alice Waters Backlash: "From Food Hero to Food Police."

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More Alice Waters Backlash: "From Food Hero to Food Police." More Alice Waters Backlash: "From Food Hero to Food Police."
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More Alice Waters Backlash: "From Food Hero to Food Police."

by Zach Frechette

February 4, 2009
A couple weeks ago we brought you this choice quote from Anthony Bourdain about his distaste for Alice Waters's particular brand of food orthodoxy (or really, orthodoxy in general)-she even gets a Khmer Rouge comparison. Now, prize food critic Todd Kliman pens a blog post in which he takes a hatchet to "Waters's inflexible brand of gastronomical correctness." He argues that despite her revolutionary approach to local and sustainable ingredients, her thinking on the subject has become doctrinaire, yet her clout in the food world is such that it cripples innovation in chefs:"Why, for instance, should top-flight chefs content themselves with using only what's local and seasonal when the emergence of new technologies has made it easier than ever to bring in delicacies from around the globe?Yet many do. I've even seen some chefs so desperate to be perceived as gastronomically correct that they have lied about their purveyors on their menus.Thanks to Waters' influence, a generation of ambitious chefs now confuse process and result. Shout-outs to their sources fill their menus, and transparency has become synonymous with integrity and honesty. But do we really need to know the provenance of an egg? And more to the point: Shopping is not cooking. ... [And] cooking, after all, is not about doing good; it's about tasting good."Kliman makes some interesting arguments, but he is ultimately approaching the debate as a lover of food, not as a lover of food policy-or someone with an appreciation for the impact that thinking more holistically about something almost everyone in the world does several times a day could have on health and the environment.Photo by Flickr user  mhuang.
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