Chefs with Issues: Making Seafood Sustainability palatable

Learn how chefs embrace sustainability when cooking with fish…

Today, consumers are more naturally curious about the provenance of their food and its method of production, and retailers have found a way to make these types of conversations part of the every day. More and more people want to know where their tomatoes were grown and who picked them. They also genuinely care about the quality of life of the cow that yielded that T-bone. But fewer customers think about the sustainability and origin of the seafood on the menu, other than perhaps where the fish were raised.

While some chefs are leading the charge and embracing sustainability at every level, others have been slower to come around on the subject. (more…)

Jamie Oliver’s First Ever ‘Food Revolution Day’ is May 19th

The well-known British chef, restaurateur, author and TV personality has launched a food revolution, bringing healthier eating to homes, schools and communities in the U.S.A and U.K.

Jamie Oliver's First Ever 'Food Revolution Day' is May 19th

In an effort to get people to eat healthy, sustainable foods, Jamie Oliver has come up with Food Revolution Day, “a global day of action for people to think about where their food comes from and get back into their kitchens,” and this is happening on May 19 this year. (more…)

Cooking competition ‘Around the World in 80 Plates’ keeps it local, sustainable
Mix “Top Chef” and “Amazing Race,” throw in some world-renowned kitchen masters as hosts and guest advisors, and you’ve got the recipe for Bravo’s latest reality competition, “Around the World in 80 Plates,” premiered last night. From “Top Chef” and “Project Runway” creators Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth, and hosted by Curtis Stone (“Top Chef Masters”) and Cat Cora (“Iron Chef America”), the series sends 12 chef contestants to 10 countries in 40 days to compete for cash and prizes, starting in London, where Nigella Lawson is the guest advisor. Divided into two teams, competitors race to source local ingredients and then take over a restaurant, to be judged on food and service by the diners.
Cooking competition 'Around the World in 80 Plates' keeps it local, sustainable
“A lot of it was sourcing from the Earth,” notes Lipsitz, recalling several vegetarian dishes. Cora does, as well. “The way they eat in a lot of these countries is going to the market and getting local produce, fruits, spices or meat straight from the butcher.” Dishes sampled ranged from the acquired taste of English steak-and-kidney pie with blood sausage to the sublime white truffle salad that Cora and Stone agree is the best thing they ate.


Is Apple the Model of a Sustainable Company?


Here’s an overlooked metric among the hundreds available for evaluating how sustainable a company is: The ability to scale change far beyond its own organization.

The model sustainable company generally looks like this. It has a phenomenal track record of stock growth and a full bucket of cash. It militantly roots out inefficiency from its operations and supply chain and invents new products that take into account social change and resource availability. It increases the transparency of its operations and invites outside scrutiny to make sure it’s in compliance with the highest legal and social standards.

Factor in the ability to scale change and the rankings change dramatically. The model company, in short, might be Apple.

I first taught a graduate-level Sustainability & Investing class at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in 2009. The class was composed of students from diverse backgrounds, including specialists in hedge-fund management, conservation, utilities, fashion, supply chains, and others. We assembled a portfolio of our picks for the most sustainable companies — those that understand new global risks and opportunities, and innovate accordingly. And we selected companies that were best positioned to push improvements in resource efficiency throughout the global economy. Apple was one of our core 20 holdings; it was trading at $192 by the end of 2009. The portfolio outperformed the market that year and went on to outperform the S&P 500 in 2010 and 2011.

Studies more rigorous than my students’ portfolio experiment suggest that companies that build a “culture of sustainability” perform better in the long-term than those that don’t. More than ever, companies are turning to sustainability to gird against volatility and as a strategy to feed middle-class consumption expanding in China, India, Brazil and beyond.

No company embodies innovation and success more than Apple. The company traded in the $7 to $12 range from 2001 to 2003, has since catapulted to the $500-600 range, and peaked at $644 in April. It’s now the only company in the world with a market value of more than a half trillion dollars. There are two types of equity portfolios, those that rode at least some of Apple’s success, and those that missed out. The relative returns of each of these portfolios have largely been driven by this one factor.

Apple has issued annual reports on its supplier relationships since 2007. It publishes product-specific environmental reports, which are more detailed than those of most competitors, covering climate change, energy efficiency, materials use, packaging, avoidance of restricted substances, and recycling. The company’s iPad 2 Environmental Report reports that the tablets exceed the strict European Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment by avoiding mercury in its display, arsenic in its glass, BFRs (brominated flame retardants) and PVCs (polyvinyl chloride).

Critics have no shortage of ammunition to challenge this argument. Apple and other global companies can no longer avoid scrutiny anywhere they operate, from activists, investors, governments, and journalists. Ma Jun, a Chinese environmental activist and founder of China’s Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, pretty much singlehandedly caused Apple to address problems in its supply chain by bringing them into the public spotlight. Worker suicides at Foxconn, Apple’s Chinese manufacturing partner, in recent years focused attention on the company’s long hours, unsafe conditions and packed living quarters. Apple joined the Fair Labor Association earlier this year, the first technology company to do so. The FLA’s subsequent investigation found at least 50 breaches of Chinese labor laws as well as the code of conduct the group signed with Apple.

Many of the most damning critiques of Apple’s worker conditions rely heavily on data and examples brought to light by Apple itself. The tough love is to be expected; by housing the bulk of its manufacturing operations in China, the company draws increased scrutiny to a country known for cheap, unregulated labor. What matters more is how the company responds. So far, Apple has improved worker conditions at its Foxconn facilities and, through its transparency and influence, is improving conditions across China. Apple’s forthrightness helps shield it from detractors and helps it become a stronger company. Apple’s public disclosure of its suppliers in the last year was welcome transparency and should be seen as an investment confidence-builder akin to buying back shares.

Sustainable companies are mindful of more than just supplier relations and working conditions. Environmental issues — which many people in the U.S. wrongly assume to be the entirety of sustainability — offers Apple room for growth. In 2011, the Carbon Disclosure Project noted that Apple and nine other companies with large market caps didn’t respond to the group’s annual survey. Greenpeace tossed a dart at the company in April, concluding in its environmental assessment of cloud-computing companies, “Three of the largest IT companies building their business around the cloud — Amazon, Apple and Microsoft — are all rapidly expanding without adequate regard to source of electricity, and rely heavily on dirty energy to power their clouds.” The report prompted a vociferous response from Apple, which in May announced it was approved to build a 20-megawatt solar power facility across the street from its data center in Maiden, North Carolina. The site will be powered completely by renewable sources by the end of 2012.

Apple ranked 50th in the 2011 Newsweek Green Rankings, assembled in part by TruCost, where I am Senior Vice President. This ranking reflects Apple’s substantial energy consumption. What it does not reflect is the company’s potential to scale sustainability innovation, which will drive even more change than their current performance shows.

Can Apple keep it up? Only if authenticity, transparency and responsiveness grow and thrive. Legitimate efforts at sustainability are creating and defending value. Apple needs sustainability — and sustainability needs examples like Apple’s.

Source: Cary Krosinsky

BBC America Launching ‘Chef Race: UK vs U.S.’ With Jamie Oliver

Already making its way from Los Angeles to New York City, production is underway for BBC America’s latest original series,Chef Race: UK vs U.S.

“The restaurant business is one of the toughest in the world and to be successful in it these days takes so much more than just being able to cook,” Oliver said of the latest production group, Fresh One. “You’ve got to have a good business sense, vision, leadership and so much more. This series is the first time that anyone has really dug deep into what it takes to be successful and it’s going to take an incredible individual to win it.”

London chef Richard Corrigan joins the series as the chef’s mentor and judge, while Claire Robinson(Food Network’s 5 Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge) will serve as host.

“Chef Race: UK vs U.S. celebrates great chefs from both sides of the pond, bringing their best cooking and entrepreneurial skills to bear in a creative format that showcases the diversity of America,” said BBC Worldwide America GM of channels, Perry Simon. “The show is a great fit with our BBC America brand and our slate of new original series.”

Amy Chacon (The Amazing Race), Stef Wagstaffe (Undercover Boss), Roy Ackerman (Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution), Sebastian Grant (Lilly Allen and Friends) and Jo Ralling (Jamie’s American Road Trip) join Oliver as EPs.

Chef Race comes just almost a year after BBC America formalized its plans for a push in original programming. Its first scripted venture, Copper, is set to debut Aug. 19.

Source: Michael O’Connell,

6 Foods to Prevent Sun Damage

While a few minutes of sunlight a day gives us a healthy dose of Vitamin D, excessive exposure to UV rays can activate free radicals in the skin and cause accelerated aging and skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. Free radicals generate wild chain reactions and impair skin cells through a process called oxidation, comparable to rusting. The cells are punctured then torn apart, resulting in skin wrinkling.

6 Foods to Prevent Sun Damage

While a few minutes of sunlight a day gives us a healthy dose of Vitamin D, excessive exposure to UV rays can activate free radicals in the skin and cause accelerated aging and skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. Free radicals generate wild chain reactions and impair skin cells through a process called oxidation, comparable to rusting. The cells are punctured then torn apart, resulting in skin wrinkling.

The skin reacts to the damaging effects of UV rays by generating an immune response-inflammation–which is visible as sunburn. What many do not know is that the body’s immune system plays an important role in the protection of the skin from harmful rays that lead to inflammation of the skin. For this reason, I strongly recommend a three-tiered approach to sun protection: 1) the use of a non-chemical protective sunscreen for the face and body daily; 2) nutritional support in the form of antioxidants to strengthen the skin’s immune system and protect it from further sun damage; and 3) an antioxidant-rich diet complete with high quality proteins, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates and clean water.

These foods can help protect against UV protection from the inside out:

Wild salmon This fish is an outstanding source of the carotenoid antioxidant known as astaxanthin, (1000 times more effective than Vitamin E), which helps to repair damage from UV rays and keep skin radiant and youthful.  The omega 3 essential fatty acids in salmon also act as powerful, protective anti-inflammatories.

In addition to salmon, mackerel, trout, herring and sardines are also rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids that can protect skin from deadly melanoma and other forms of skin cancer from sunburn.

Green tea Along with strawberries, blue and blackberries, apples, and cocoa, green tea is an antioxidant food high incatechins which also protect the skin from UV damage. The deeper and richer the color, the higher the catechin content. The most powerful catechin is Epigallocatechin-3 Gallate (EGCG) which is 100 times more potent than Vitamin C and 25 times stronger than Vitamin E.  Green tea is one of our richest sources of EGCG.

Cocoa The ingestion of high flavanol cocoa led to increases in blood flow of cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues, and to increases in skin density and skin hydration. Dietary flavanols from cocoa contribute to endogenous photo-protection, improve dermal blood circulation, and affect cosmetically relevant skin surface and hydration variables.

Tomatoes A study, performed in 2001, looked at volunteers who ate 40 grams of tomato paste over a ten-week period. The group was forty percent less likely to experience sunburn when exposed to harmful UV rays.  But don’t forget to add a little olive oil to insure absorption of the special skin-protecting phytochemicals.

Watermelon This summer melon is rich in lycopene, making it a great choice to protect your skin from sunburn and possibility of developing skin cancer.

Lycopene can prevent UV-induced sunburn. It is rich in the aforementioned tomatoes and tomato paste, watermelon as well as apricots, pink grapefruit and red (not orange) carrots.

Broccoli Sprouts A member of the cruciferous family, broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane, which is linked to increasing the skin’s ability to protect itself from cancer. Broccoli sprouts are the richest source of cancer-fighting glucoraphanin, the precursor of sulforaphane.

And don’t forget Ginger and Turmeric. These delightful spicy roots can be added to salads, stir fries, curries, soups and stews. Ginger prevents the breakdown of elastin in the skin, helping to prevent the wrinkles that result from UV radiation. Turmeric, an antioxidant, anti-aging powerhouse, protects collagen—key in keeping your skin youthful and radiant.

Source: Dr. Perricone

How to Deliciously Cut Calories From Your Diet…according to World Master Chef Meg Galvin

How to Deliciously Cut Calories From Your Diet...according to World Master Chef Meg GalvinWhat are the easiest – most delicious – ways to cut calories

Chef Meg Galvin uses the following cooking tricks to cut calories and maintain mouthwatering flavor and super satisfaction.

Use parchment paper for steaming and roasting

“By ‘wrapping’ up your food you will be able to reduce and even omit using oil and butter in your steaming and roasting recipes,” explains the master chef. “The paper will trap in the heat and not permit flavors to escape. Easy clean-up is an added bonus.”

Go topless to cut carb calories

Chef Galvin recommends using only one slice of bread on sandwiches, omit breadcrumb topping on casseroles, and say, “No, thank you,” to croutons on salads. (more…)

Full-Service Restaurants Embrace Raw Foods Trend

The first dish that appears is a single spring pea gnocchi dumpling perched in a Japanese soup spoon with a little cloud of horseradish foam. Next out are fried green tomatoes dressed up with black olive crackers and a pistachio dill pesto. The entrée is porcini and ricotta tortellini in a pool of spinach cream, while the finale is a black-walnut-crusted chocolate avocado mousse with a swoosh of raspberry jam.

Full-Service Restaurants Embrace Raw Foods Trend

Sounds like artful haute cuisine that relies on a slew of classic cooking techniques, but here’s the kicker: Every dish is made with only raw ingredients. Nothing was baked, boiled, sautéed, or fried. In fact, not a single item was subjected to heat above 118 degrees, which raw food devotees believe keeps the natural enzymes in produce alive.

The tortellini shells were made with micro-shaved yellow squash, the gnocco was a mash of peas, jicama, and cashews, and the crackers were dehydrated Kalamata olives and buckwheat.

This is a typical Friday night tasting menu dinner at Washington’s premier raw restaurant, Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, which is in a fashionable Federalist townhouse at the heart of downtown. It’s one of a growing number of raw restaurants that have sprouted up across the country, from Planet Raw and Leaf in Los Angeles and Thrive in Seattle to Lifefood Gourmet in Miami. (more…)